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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Briar Cliff University's Tribute to Mark Twain "Diaries of Adam and Eve"

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buy this photoJIM LEE Nathan Kirsch and Alexandra Alberda, pictured Monday, January 4, 2010, star in the Briar Cliff University Drma Departments presentation of "The Diaries of Adam and Eve." (Jim Lee/Sioux City Journal)

  • The Diaries of Adam and Eve
  • The Diaries of Adam and Eve

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

And with that biblical introduction, most of us know what follows is: "male and female He created them."

Briar Cliff University's Department of Theatre examines the Genesis creation story in the production of Mark Twain's "Diaries of Adam and Eve."

"This play is a warm and witty look at the creation of humanity," said director Richard Poole. "It is replete with Mark Twain's inimitable humor."

Originally, Twain (nee Samuel Clemens) wrote "Excerpts from the Diary of Adam" around 1893, basing the character on himself. Over a decade later, Twain penned "Eve's Diary," after the death of his beloved wife Olivia.

The two tales have been combined by various writers in various versions since the turn of the 20th century. The BCU version was adapted for the stage by actor David Birney, best know for the television comedy "Bridget Loves Bernie."

Much like the story in the Bible, the "diaries" are a record of the lives of the first two humans God created, Poole said.

"The appeal of the show is an examination of the beginning of the world as only Mark Twain could tell it," he said.

Adam (Nathan Kirsch) and Eve (Alexandra Alberda) take turns -- barefoot -- exploring the Garden of Eden, discovering each other along with everything else. Adam even muses of Eve: "This new creature with the long hair is a good deal in the way. I wish it would stay with the other animals."

"The two characters are trying to understand what this new world is about," Poole said. "They talk about what love means and experience how steadfast love can be from their eating of the fruit to their exile from Eden."

For those who think "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Sawyer" when they think of Mark Twain, the "Diaries" contain a good sample of Twain's wry humor and observations on the human condition, Poole said.

"It's a delightful look at the world, but asks the questions of 'What do we want? What does God want?'" he pointed out. "Especially after the couple eat the apple, they are left to their own devices, which makes us wonder if that's what God might have intended. To have us develop as our own selves instead of being dependent on Him."

Adam and Eve may be ignorant of the new world that awaits them, but like Twain, they are thoughtful seekers of the answers to the questions they faced, Poole said.

"The play does ask some interesting questions for the audience to think about," he acknowledged. "Would Adam and Eve have to be cast out of the garden to find love? It's something to think about."

God, the serpent, even Cain and Abel appear in this play, but through the dialogue of the two principal characters, Poole pointed out.

"The audience will get an enchanting new look at these two biblical characters," he said.


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Fiction By Mark Twain

  • A Burlesque Autobiography (1871)
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889)
  • A Double Barrelled Detective Story (1902)
  • A Murder, A Mystery, A Marriage [1945] (2001)
  • Adam's Diary (1893)
  • Edmund Burke on Croker and Tammany (1901)
  • Eve's Diary (1905)
  • First Romance (1871)
  • Is He Dead? (1898)
  • King Leopold's Soliloquy (1905)
  • Merry Tales (1892)
  • My Late Senatorial Secretaryship (1868)
  • Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, by the Sieur Louis de Conte (1896)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  • The American Claimant (1892)
  • The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Updated (1901)
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1867)
  • The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873) Co-Authored by Charles Dudley Warner
  • The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg (1900)
  • The Mysterious Stranger (unfinished)
  • The Prince and The Pauper (1881)
  • The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)
  • Tom Sawyer Abroad (1894)
  • Tom Sawyer, Detective (1896)

Non-Fiction By Mark Twain

  • Following The Equator (1897)
  • Life on The Mississippi (1883)
  • Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant (1885)
  • Roughing It (1872)
  • The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County (1865)
  • The Innocents Abroad or The New Pilgrims' Progress (1869)

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