A live reading performance of a full-length play about Robert Green Ingersoll delighted a standing-room crowd at Manhattan's historic Players Club on the evening of January 31, 2011. Defying a gathering winter storm, more than 200 people packed the landmark theater in the Gramercy Park residence of 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth to experience a reading of Richard Stockton's play "Speak of the Devil."
The production was produced by casting director Irene Stockton, widow of the late playwright, and directed by Chelsea Theatre Center founder Robert Kalfin. A slate of expert Broadway actors read such roles as Robert Green Ingersoll, his brother Ebon, his future wife Eva Parker, her father Judge Parker, and many others. The play presents a fictionalized account of Ingersoll's young and middle years that powerfully captured the wit, insight, and singular courage of the man who dared to challenge America during its Gilded Age by being its most public agnostic.
Ingersoll Museum director and Council for Secular Humanism executive director Tom Flynn offered brief comments before the performance. Richard Stockton's play has been performed twice before on the New York stage, in 1983 at the Chernuchin Theatre Off-Broadway under the title "Royal Bob," and in 1972 at the Lamb's Theatre under the title "One World at a Time." This was its first performance under the playwright's preferred title and in a revised edition edited by Irene Stockton.