Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall Mark Twain House Events Scheduled

New Theatrical Version of Twain's 'The Gilded Age' Gets Reading at Mark Twain House Sept. 16
"There's millions in it!" became one of the catchwords of 19th century America in 1873 after Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner published their novel "The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today." The phrase was uttered by the eternally naïve, eternally broke Colonel Beriah Sellers, one of Twain's most famous characters, who was always on the lookout for a get-rich-quick deal.

It's a tale of Washington corruption and crooked Western land dealing, -- and is thus still "A Tale of Today."And of course, in the book's title, Twain and Warner provided a perfect name for the explosive era in which they were living.

Now Ellen Faith Brodie and David Pellegrini of Eastern Connecticut State University have created a stage version of this sprawling work - written by Twain and his Hartford neighbor Warner in response to a challenge from their wives to write a first novel.

The Gilded Age - A Play will be presented in a free reading on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7 pm at The Mark Twain House & Museum. The one-night-only reading of the world premiere stage adaptation, directed by Brodie, will be performed by a cast of ECSU theater students. The event is free, with no reservations required.

Note: The Gilded Age - A Play will be performed onstage at ECSU's Henry Hope Theater on Nov. 9-14. For information and tickets for those performances, call the Box Office at 860-465-5123.

Ghost Investigator Visits
Legendary paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren visits the Mark Twain House Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 pm to answer questions about her career as a ghost hunter.

Tickets to "A Conversation with Lorraine Warren" are $25 ($20 for members of The Mark Twain House & Museum") and can be ordered by calling 860-280-3130. The Mark Twain House & Museum is located at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, CT. For more information, visit

Author, Journalist Susan Campbell to Teach Writing Class This Fall
Susan Campbell, the feisty, eloquent Hartford Courant columnist, and author of the acclaimed memoir Dating Jesus, will lead a workshop on Creative Non-Fiction at The Mark Twain House & Museum this fall.

The class continues the new Writing at the Mark Twain House program, established last year to further the museum's stated mission of carrying forward the legacy of Mark Twain by serving as a literary center.

Creative Non-Fiction uses the literary techniques of fiction to create its effects - while remaining rigorously factual. Campbell's classes will treat all manner of such work, from opinion writing to autobiography to essay writing to general truth-telling, guided by the spirits of E. B. White, Jessica Mitford, Tracy Kidder and Joan Didion, among others.

The six sessions will run from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Wednesday evenings, beginning Nov. 10 and running to Dec. 22 (no class Nov. 24). There is a fee of $500. Call Steve Courtney at 860-247-0998, Ext. 243, or email to register.

Deadline for registration and full payment is Oct. 15. (Last spring's memoir session was quickly oversubscribed, so be sure to act quickly.)

Campbell, like Twain, hails from Missouri, but the connection is more than geographical. She counts Twain among the writers who inspire her work, and her mixture of wild humor, deep insight and a hunger for social justice is deeply reminiscence of Twain's.

Writing at the Mark Twain House began this past spring with a course in memoir writing by Lary Bloom and Suzanne Levine.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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