New York City
Metropolitan Playhouse hosts Twainathon — its second annual festival of performances inspired by an American author.
Twainathon includes musicals and monologues; dance performances and full length plays; as well as adaptations and biographies. Additionally, each evening of the festival will lead off with a reading or recital of one of Twain’s works. The shows are divided into seven different programs (or “Riverboats”), each consisting of one to three presentations. All in all, the Festival includes fourteen performances by artists inspired by Samuel Clemens, listed below:
Adapted by N.G. McClernan; Produced by Mergatroyd Productions
This take on Adventures of Huckleberry Finn focuses tightly on Huck’s dilemma – follow the law and be “respectable” – or risk eternal damnation and help Jim escape to freedom. Jim never forgets his goal is to free himself so that he can free his family.
THE REPORT OF MY DEATH
Adapted by Adam Klasfeld; Produced by One Armed Man
Featuring rare and posthumously published Twain letters, stories, and miscellany, this docudrama follows Clemens from his bankruptcy through his worldwide lecture tour, personal tragedies, unlikely recovery, and principled opposition to the Spanish-American War. A workshop production about the “other” Sam Clemens: American radical and dark prophet.
EXTRACTS FROM ADAM’S DIARY
Adapted by Anthony P. Pennino
Adapted from the Mark Twain short story of the same title, Adam has everything he could possibly need in the Garden of Eden — peace, quiet, and plenty of carrots. Then one day a new creature with long hair and water coming out of the eyes appears, and Adam’s life will never be the same again.
THE WAR PRAYER
By Mark Twain, Presented by Mike Durkin
Adapted from Mark Twain’s short story, this blistering critique of the Spanish-American War was originally rejected from Harper’s Bazaar for being too radical. The paper published it after his death circa World War I.
THE CALIFORNIAN’S TALE
Adapted by Andrew Firda
Set in the waning days of the 1849 gold rush, The Californian’s Tale tells the story of Sam, a young man come late to seek his fortune, and Henry, a timeworn old miner who won’t give up his dreams. Sam sets out to learn the secrets of treasure-hunting and discovers that there are things worth more than gold.
AN INCONVENIENT RIVER
By Laura Livingston
In Life on the Mississippi, Twain describes his beloved river’s “disposition to make prodigious jumps,” suddenly change its path, and generally make life difficult for the humans in its way. This slide show presentation of the river of his youth is thrown off course by twenty-first century life on the Mississippi.
Written by Dan Evans; Produced by LuLu LoLo
Ernest Hemingway once said that American literature begins with Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. It could also be said that American literature truly begins with Hemingway’s short story “The Killers” (1926). Here in Hannibal, Missouri, in 1850, young Tom Sawyer and the killers Al and Max are brought together in Henry’s Lunchroom.
THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG
Adapted by Michael Bettencourt
Twain’s tale of hypocrisy and greed comes with a nasty little twist at the end. Elfin Vogel directs.
Written by Chris Harcum
From the creative team who served up Some Kind of Pink Breakfast comes this everyman’s uncommon adventure to get the one thing we all want. Take a joyride with a cast of colorful characters through an alternate-reality heartland. Are you on the right road?
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF VIRGINS AND TRAMPS
By Wandering Rom Players
Wandering Rom Players is a group of young theatre artists committed to producing classics using nontraditional casting, interpretation, and staging.
A MARVELOUS CURIOSITY
Compiled by Jeremy X. Halpern
A journey through the mind of the late Samuel Clemens. Notable personalities from Twain’s work and life attend the funeral to mourn the great man’s passing. When Clemens himself arrives to dispel the “exaggerated” reports of his death, they rejoice to find him intact. He has truly achieved immortality.
THE HADLEYBURG PROJECT – A MUSICAL READING
Book by Adam Cohen, Lyrics by Kevin Laub
The Hadleyburg Project is based on the Mark Twain short story “The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg.” The city of Hadleyburg seems nice enough – honest, polite, forthright. But when a stranger feels slighted by some of its citizens, he begins a quest to unmask the city’s sinful hypocrisy.
beTwixt, beTween & beTWAIN – A MARK TWAIN MUSICAL
By Danny Ashkenasi
Five “Troubadours” tell tales, sing tunes, play instruments, and perform Twain stories, including “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Caleveras County,” “A Genuine Mexican Plug,” “Cannibalism in the Cars,” and “Life on the Mississippi” and “The Innocents Abroad.” From the creators of last year’s Poe festival’s Tell-Tale Heart (winner, “Outstanding Music and Lyrics,” FringeNYC 2006).
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