Is He Dead?, comes alive

Elizabeth Moir School presents an over-the-top Mark Twain comedy

Fuelled by his own struggles with death, debt and bankruptcy, Mark Twain wrote “Is He Dead?” in 1898. Twain overcame these travails and transformed his dark experiences into the raw material for this irreverent, zany, over-the-top comedy. Sadly, the play was never produced during his lifetime and it did not see the light of day until more than a century later.

Elizabeth Moir School will present its Senior School production “Is He Dead?” on February 18 and 19 at The Lionel Wendt Theatre. The plot centres on Jean François Millet, a young painter of genius, who is in love with Marie Leroux but in debt to a villainous picture dealer, Bastien Andre. Threatened with debtors’ prison and appalled by the thought of losing his darling Marie, Millet and his cadre of eccentric protégés are forced to come up with an ingenious plot that will save his money and his dear Marie.

Thanks to a brilliant adaptation by David Ives, one of Twain’s funniest works has been unearthed, dusted off, polished up and refined for modern audiences. First performed to great critical acclaim on Broadway in 2007, Ives’ adaptation stays true to Twain’s trademark wit, unforgettable characters and riotous plot. The Wall Street Journal described the play as “shriekingly funny” and Variety as “a ripely enjoyable confection!”

Elizabeth Moir’s previous productions include last year’s ambitious “Antigone”, as well as other successful performances such as “Animal Farm” and “A Few Good Men”. This year’s performance is led by a small group of talented and experienced young actors. Aaron Tull Dare leads the cast as Jean François Millet. In supporting roles, areleading figures from previous school plays such as Serala Ranatunga, in the role of the unrelentingly evil money-lender Bastien Andre, and Emily Hayward, as O’Shaughnessy, will again take the stage. Zacky Muzni, Kathleen Renker, Hana Rajap and Francesca Mudannayake also make up the cast.

“Is He Dead?” promises an evening of unforgettable laughs. Tickets are available at Elizabeth Moir Senior School at 4/20, Thalakotuwa Gardens, Colombo 5. Telephone – 2512275/2512109. The production is sponsored by Maggi noodles.

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