Gabriel Re-enactment

Timothy Harris as Gabriel

Timothy Harris as Gabriel


What Price Freedom? is a one-man play that the Friends of Bryan Park commissioned for its Centennial Celebration in 2010. It was underwritten by Richmond Councilman Marty Jewell and Henrico Supervisor Frank Thornton. It is an historical reenactment performance about Gabriel, the slave whose life and death are forever entwined with the park’s history.  Local actor, Timothy L. Harris, who is an imposing 6 feet 6 inches tall, portrays Gabriel. The script was written by Derome Smith.

Gabriel was instrumental in planning a slave uprising in 1800, now known as Gabriel’s Rebellion. During that summer the insurrection’s leaders met at Young’s Spring, beside the creek that runs through Bryan Park.  Saturday, August 30th, was the night chosen for the planned rebellion, but in a twist of fate, their plans were foiled by a rainstorm that caused flash flooding. The delay ultimately led to the capture and execution of 26 slaves, including Gabriel and his brother.

In the monologue, Timothy L. Harris portrays Gabriel while he is imprisoned awaiting his execution. He speculates on his desire for the freedom of all men, his indignation at the injustice of slavery, the planning of his bold rebellion and his thoughts while facing his own death.

What Price Freedom? was performed outside in the park four times during the summer of 2010.  If you are interested in having this remarkable play performed in your school, church or other venue, please contact us.

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