“Harry Truman: A Grandson’s Portrait”

On Jan. 28, the all-virtual Spring 2021 Performing Art Series began with the acting performance “Harry Truman: A Grandson’s Portrait.”
Clifton Truman Daniel, grandson to former president of the United States Harry Truman, plays his grandfather to highlight and present Truman’s life in a relatable fashion, drawing parallels from social and political challenges Truman faced during his career to the modern American climate.
Daniel has been playing his grandfather since 2017, in the original play Give “Em Hell, Harry!” However, after facing issues regarding logistics of online performances, Daniel wrote “Harry Truman: A Grandson’s Portrait” specifically for an online format.
“Harry Truman: A Grandson’s Portrait” draws directly from Daniel’s life and his experiences with his grandfather, as well as from his mother’s accounts (daughter of Harry Truman), memoirs and letters.
After the performance, Daniel answered questions from the audience, proctored by Ian Dreger, Interim Director of the Office of Event Services.
Dreger asked, “What is your favorite part of playing your grandfather?”
Daniel responded, “I got into this bit by bit over the years, I’ve been writing about my grandfather, lecturing about my grandfather… I think playing him, first, I don’t know what my favorite part was, but it was terrifying because I’m his grandson, you don’t want to screw it up… but doing all that, learning all that, that is the fun part.”
Daniel also fielded other questions on a variety of topics, including Truman’s personal feelings on the usages of atomic bombs, pursuit of public servanthood, dislike of General Douglas MacArthur and more.