A One Act Play
Ridgefield Community Center
June 27, 2012
A reading of the one act play Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists will be presented at the Ridgefield Community Center (316 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.), on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:00 PM by the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative.
Keith Velia, a representative of the Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, said that the audience is invited to participate in a discussion of U.S. foreign policy following the performance.
Light refreshments will be served and admission is free.
Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists provides a rare look at Mark Twain’s work as one of the leading opponents of United States colonialism at the turn of the century.
While most Americans are well acquainted with Mark Twain as the author of classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, his important work as a political activist is largely unknown.
The play features Carl White, founder of the Greenwich Experimental Theater, as Mark Twain. It was originally written and produced for radio by Ken MacDermotRoe, a host of WPKN’s weekly public affairs series In Context. MacDermotRoe and other members of the In Context team will participate in the discussion with the audience following the play.
Mark Twain, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut, served as Vice President of the Anti-Imperialist League from 1901 to his death in 1910. He authored satiric essays against imperialism which were widely distributed.
According to author MacDermotRoe, “Mark Twain passionately believed that the United States could not remain a republic and its people retain their freedoms if it subjugated foreign countries. This play serves, not only, to remind Americans of Twain’s important political activity, but also to stimulate discussion of the proper role of the United States in the world.”
Mark Twain vs. the Imperialists focuses on Twain’s opposition to the Philippine American War which broke out in 1899 following the U.S. seizure of the Philippines in the Spanish American War. In putting down the protracted Philippine resistance to U.S. occupation, U.S. troops subjected Filipinos to an early form of waterboarding known as the “water cure”.
During the turn of the century, anti-imperialist clubs were established in many U.S. cities and attracted a considerable following. The movement was supported by many prominent Americans in addition to Mark Twain, including Andrew Carnegie and former President Grover Cleveland.
“Given America’s current situation, the fundamental issues raised by Mark Twain and his fellow anti-imperialists are as relevant now as they were over a century ago”, said MacDermotRoe.
The Ridgefield Liberty Cooperative, a non-partisan volunteer group, sponsors events to help educate citizens about critical issues facing the country.