By CBS3 Staff

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – A new stage production will world-premiere Wednesday at West Chester University, bringing to life a debate that never was between President Abraham Lincoln and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

“The Lincoln vs. Douglass Debate” is the work of Emmy-nominated documentarian Charles Cook, who drew from the actual speeches and writings of these 19th-century leaders to create this imaginary debate for the stage.

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Two professional actors will perform as Lincoln and Douglass, exploring matters of racial equality.

They shared with CBS3 some of their thoughts on the importance of the production while remaining in character.

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“I believe we open a window onto the past so that people can see a little clearer into their history and how they got where they are, and what people had to go through and the good things that happened and the bad things that happen. Most people aren’t aware of their own history,” Robert Gleason, who portrays Abraham Lincoln, said.

“I want people to come to an understanding and a recognition that these two men respected each other very much. And as a result of that, they were able to move forward. They did not feel the necessity to get up and yell at each other, scream at each other and use all kinds of invective in order to accomplish their purpose, because invective really doesn’t do anything more than to keep people separated,” Fred Morsell, who portrays Frederick Douglass, said.

The event coincides with the university’s 150th-anniversary celebration and more than 25 years of the Frederick Douglass Institute.

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You can see “The Lincoln vs. Douglass Debate” Wednesday at 7 p.m. on the campus of West Chester University. Tickets are free for students and $15 for the general public. For more information, click here.