The middle school performed their spring play today in two performances. This year’s play was Is he dead? by Mark Twain. The play was recently discovered by a scholar in 2003. The students did a wonderful job – the play was very funny and had a beautiful set and costumes. There were great lines, such as: “Oh. and have my horses polished. They’re looking a little dingy”and (Chicago referring to Millet’s feminine clothes) “You’re going to need more practice in those duds. You’re walking like a busted mare.” Millet was a real artist; the students created several versions of his paintings for use in the play. Congratulations to everyone involved!
Here is Ben Brantley’s plot summary from The New York Times review:
“Set in and near Paris in 1846, “Is He Dead?” presents a lineup of cultural and farcical stereotypes, seen with the wide-eyed-with-a-wink gaze that Twain brought to “The Innocents Abroad,” the travel memoir that made him solvent. At the show’s center is Jean-François Millet (no, the name is not a coincidence), a brilliant but unrecognized painter…Since Jean-François can’t sell a landscape to save his life (literally), his inner circle of bohemian friends — an ethnic stew made up of an American…a German…and an Irishman…convince him that faking his death is just the ticket for raising his stock. So Jean-François disappears from life and re-emerges as his imaginary twin sister, a widow both mad and madcap. The expected complications ensue.”