Donald E. Baker
Playwright, Trade With Klan
"If your relatives were White and Protestant and lived in Indiana in the 1920s, it is likely there are Klanspeople in your family tree. There are in mine.
Trade With Klan is set in a small town loosely based on the one I grew up in."
Forrest, Indiana is a small town surrounded by corn fields. In the summer of 1925 it's also ethnically White, predominantly Evangelical, and fertile ground for the Ku Klux Klan. Daniel Lenhart returns to his hometown after seminary college to find the Klan rooted in his community, and his brother putting a TWK sign in the window of the family business.
Inspired by true events, TRADE WITH KLAN reflects the collapse of the Indiana Klan: the largest Klan organization in the nation in 1925. A remarkably timely play, and a reminder of how quickly things can change when you aren't questioning.
SHOW DATES: January 17 - February 2
Thu-Sat (8 pm)
Sundays (4 pm)
PLAYWRIGHT IN ATTENDANCE OPENING WEEKEND ONLY. Q&A to follow.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Born and raised in Indiana, Donald E. Baker is the author or editor of several non-fiction books and articles on Midwestern history. After earning graduate degrees in history and library science from Indiana University, he worked as a public librarian in Evansville, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He began writing plays after retiring with his husband to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2012.
Baker has written four plays. “Grand Dragon in Power” concerns the downfall of the KKK Grand Dragon who was the political boss of Indiana in the 1920s. A version for radio was performed before a live audience on March 26, 2018, by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is available on Soundcloud.com.
Indiana's Klan era is also the background for his full-length play "Trade With Klan,” which concerns choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers in the face of Klan influence. “Trade With Klan” was given a DG Friday Footlights reading in January, 2019, and received a Red Ribbon award in the First Annual Playwriting Competition at Southwest Theatre Productions, Austin Texas, in February, 2019.
Baker's “My Brother Paul” is a play with music about the sibling rivalry between Theodore Dreiser and his brother Paul Dresser, a popular song writer and actor. He has also written a one-person play about a Civil War-era steamboat captain entitled “Web-Footed Dreams, or, Paddlewheels and Politics in Peace and War.”