Berkshire Eagle

Two rock stars of the Gilded Age, Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain,

forge a bond in a new play at PS21


Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018  11:21 am


By Sharon Smullen, Eagle correspondent


CHATHAM, N.Y. — In a wooden barn on a country road in this Columbia County community, a stage is marked out for rehearsals of Elizabeth Diggs' new play "Grant & Twain." At the kitchen table in the farmhouse nearby, Diggs and director Regge Life talk about the period production that, beginning Thursday, will launch the first full fall season in PS21's new year-round 99-seat black box theater just a stroll away.

"Grant & Twain" begins with much-admired general and former president Ulysses S. Grant broken and bankrupted at 62 by a humiliating financial swindle.

Mark Twain, nom-de-plume of humorist author Samuel Clemens, is 13 years younger and in his prime; not yet white-haired and white-suited, with "Huckleberry Finn" soon to be published.

Both men are Westerners who know the great Mississippi river well.

"Grant was a modest person, [without] ambition to be acknowledged as great," Diggs said. "Twain was the opposite, he loved the limelight."




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