Mark Twain wrote “Is He Dead?” in 1898, but the satirical play has only been widely available since 2003, after Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin arranged to have it published.
American playwright David Ives later adapted “Is He Dead?” for the stage, and the play saw its world premiere on Broadway in 2007.
Ignite Community Theatre’s production of “Is He Dead?” opens Friday and runs through June 24.
In “Is He Dead?,” painter Jean-Francois Millet (Dan Griffith) is the “he” in question. Millet is in love with Marie Leroux (Tricia Petrinovich) but he’s in debt to art dealer and moneylender Bastien Andre (Lauren Bathurst).
In order to pay his debts, Millet decides to fake his own death, reasoning that his paintings will be worth more if he’s dead.
The plan works, until Andre takes an interest in Millet, now masquerading as his “sister,” the widow Daisy Tillou.
Millet then has to find a way to get rid of Andre, reveal his true identity and marry Leroux.
Ignite Community Theatre’s production of “Is He Dead?,” directed by Jerry Uppinghouse, also stars CJ Pieroni as Agamemnon “Chicago” Buckner, Steve Petrinovich as Hans “Dutchy” von Bismark, Pat Marvel as Cecile Leroux, Troy Heppner as Papa Leroux, Meri Horn as Madame Bathilde, LuRicka Kougl as Madame Caron, Scott Finlayson as Phelim O’Shaughnessy, Kris Behr as Basil Thorpe and Benjamin Donnelly as Claude Riviere and Charlie.