Elizabeth Hurd
Fine Arts Blogger (Contributor)

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  • "Is He Dead" at Carpenter Square is Very Much Alive

    Elizabeth Hurd | Published: Thu, Apr 10, 2014

    Rhonda Clark directs “Is He Dead” under the hovering presence of authors Mark Twain and David Ives.  In 2003 Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin discovered Twain’s marvelous unfinished play – “Is He Dead” written in 1898.  Although never produced, the play is an excellent example of Twain as a playwright.  The timelessness of Twain in “Is He Dead” is just as hilarious as “Charley’s Aunt” and includes cross-dressing as well.  “Is He Dead” originally had three acts and is a story of an artist who fakes his death in order to create value for his paintings.  He then masquerades as his own sister in order to sell the art in the estate.  The artist, Jean-Francois Millet is real although the play is entirely fictional.  (Millet actually achieved recognition and financial security as an artist quite late in life and influenced upcoming artists such as Van Gogh).  “Is He Dead” takes place much earlier in his life and the quality of Millet’s work is accurately conveyed by Twain and David Ives follows through.