LSDrama Presents: Is He Dead?
The 6th Annual Festival of One Acts features an adaptation of Mark Twain’s hilarious 1898 play, Is He Dead? with a twist!
Three student directors, Darren Thomas, Rebby Kern, and Kristin Bagani each direct one of the three acts. Although the characters remain the same, each act has a different cast composed of both students and staff! And if that isn’t enough, some of the actors double in the different acts, playing other characters!
This artistic adventure is not without perils (will the audience get it?), but the opportunity to explore a diversity of interpretations seemed too good to miss. The students were inspired by urban graffiti artist Banksy, and the show poster designed by Elisa Romero is meant as an homage to Banksy's anarchic artistry.
Darren Thomas discovered the play during fall quarter. As a student in the Play Reading class, Darren was required to read at least 18 One-Act plays, in an effort to find a play he wished to direct for the festival.
The play had never been published until it was found by a Twain scholar, Shelley Fisher Fishkin in 2003. Contemporary playwright, David Ives adapted the play and it was first performed in 2007. We ordered a copy of Ive’s play and all of the directors fell in love with the script.
When I was in pre-school, my parents would take my sister and I to see Shakespeare in the Park on the lawn of the Washington Monument in D.C. My mother would tell us the basic plot of the show we were going to see and even though the heightened language of Elizabethan England was difficult for us to understand, we were able to follow the plot. Spoiler alert! The following is designed to make it easier for you, as an audience member to follow the plot in this audacious enterprise!
Francois Millet is a penniless painter indebted to the evil Andre (an art dealer). Francois is also in love with Marie, and she with him. Andre wants Marie, and plots to destroy Francois, so that Marie will spurn him. Francois’ friends come up with the idea of pretending that he (Francois) has died, so that his paintings will be more valuable.
Of course Marie is devastated by the news of Francois’ death. Meanwhile, Francois pretends to be his own sister “Daisy”, so that he can inherit the fortune being made now that “he” is dead!
Of course Andre switches his affection to the newly rich “Daisy”, who is quite unprepared to deal with his amorous attention, while at the same time a grieving Marie finds herself strangely attracted to the “sister” of her lost love.
I won’t tell you how it ends! The real Francois Millet, upon whom this story is based, had a tragic end. When he died, his paintings became priceless. At the same time his family was left penniless. Twain would have known his story.
This play raises questions about what it means to support the arts and living artists. By purchasing a ticket and attending the play, you will be supporting the performing arts on this campus, and your support encourages the more than 60 students who have worked many long hours to put this show together. We hope to see you in the theater!
Dates: March 2, 3, 7, 8, 9
Time: 8 p.m.
Place: Matheson Hall
Tickets: $10 General Admission; $7 La Sierra students/staff/faculty
Box office: South Hall 101 (909)785-2241
For more information email Marilynn Loveless firstname.lastname@example.org