Theater Review: Ballard High's "Is He Dead?"

In mid-October, I saw the play Is He Dead? with a couple of my friends, and it was probably one of the best plays I have seen. This community play was probably as good as something you would see on Broadway, right in your very own neighborhood. Is He Dead? is a comedy by Mark Twain, and this production was directed by Shawn M. Riley. It’s quite a popular play but was very well done by the people who worked very hard on it.

The play is about Jean Francois Millet, a painter with debts to pay a greedy banker.  It is set in the 1800s. Millet was never a popular painter but when he must pay his debt soon, his friends help him and think of a plan so they “kill” him. That’s the thing with painters at that time. They are only recognized after death. Although Millet isn’t really dead, just pretending, he must hide himself from the public by dressing himself as his “sister”. Now that Millet is “dead,” he becomes very famous. Hundreds of rich people come into his shop offering large amounts of money for his paintings. But there is one problem. Actually, a couple. First, Millet is not very good at disguising his voice and keeping all his lies together. And there’s also the fact that now that Millet (disguised as his sister) is rich, the greedy banker wants to marry him, AND also Millet’s girlfiend’s friend is suspicious about “Millet’s sister.”

There’s really not much I can say. The costumes were great, the acting was great, everything was great.

 Is He Dead? ever comes to your neighborhood, don’t wait.  In the meantime, you can check out the library’s copy of the play itself or a graphic novel based on the play.

–Navya , 14, Teen Center Advisor

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