The Department of Theatre Arts in Ouachita Baptist University’s School of Fine Arts will present Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30-Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 2.
The performances will be presented in Verser Theatre on Ouachita’s campus. Tickets are $6 each and may be purchased through the Jones Performing Arts Center box office by calling 870-245-5563 or online atwww.obu.edu/finearts.
Un-produced by Twain, “Is He Dead?” was discovered in 2002 by Shelly Fisher Fishkin among the mothballs of the Mark Twain Papers. Since Twain wrote the play in 1898, the task of adapting it for modern audiences fell to David Ives. “It’s not every day you get the chance to collaborate with a dead American master,” Ives said of Twain. “In essence, he gave me the setups and I provided the payoffs.”
The story, full of farcical jokes and cultural stereotypes, centers on the life of Jean-François Millet, a brilliant young painter, and the lengths he will go to achieve fame, acquire fortune, and of course marry the woman of his dreams. The play opens with Millet in debt to the villainous art dealer Bastien Andre. To escape debtor’s prison, Millet fakes his own death to skyrocket the prices of his paintings and then impersonates his fictional sister, Widow Tillou. The story then escalates with twists and turns as Millet tries to find a way to get out of “Tillou’s” dress, come back from the dead and wed his true love, Marie.
Members of the cast include: Greg Schwartz as Jean-Francios Millet/Widow, a junior theatre major from Texarkana, Texas; Jeff Garner as Bastien Andre, a senior Biblical studies major from Arlington, Texas; Lauren Godfrey as Marie Leroux, a senior musical theatre major from Rockwall, Texas; Katie Willhite as Cecile Leroux, a sophomore Christian missions major from Rowlett, Texas; Michael Krikorian as Agamemnon Buckner, a junior theatre major from Rockwall, Texas; Trey Baldwin as Hans Van Bismark (Dutchy), a junior political science major from Forrest City, Ark. and Rudy Jones as Phelim O’Shaugnesy, a freshman chemistry major from Smackover, Ark.
Also appearing in the cast are: Jody Lee as Papa Leroux/ Basil Thorpe/ King of France, a senior musical theatre major from Arlington, Texas; Samantha Parrish as Madame Bathilde/The Sultan of Turkey, a junior musical theatre major from Forney, Texas; Heather Baker as Madame Caron/The Emperor of Russia, a senior musical theatre major from Cleburne, Texas; Cortnie Devore as Claude Riviere, a sophomore musical theatre major from Beebe, Ark. and Ashley Partridge as Charlie, a sophomore musical theatre major from Baton Rouge, La.
Directing the show is assistant professor of theatre arts, Dr. Daniel Inouye, Ouachita’s newest addition to the theatre faculty.
by Lindsey Forga