Samuel Langhorne Clemens

The dramatic version of

Mark Twain’s

Tom Sawyer

Despite mounting evidence that he had little talent for dramatic plotting or stage management, Clemens persisted in believ-ing that the theater would yield him a maximum of effort from a ludicrous minimum of effort.

One page of his dramatization of Tom Sawyer is shown here along with an envelope with plot ideas:

"AP [Aunt Polly] gets out Tom's playthings & cries over them, just before going to bed ..... then Prays ..... Tom kisses her shoe ..... takes whipping in place of Amy."

Acts 4 and 5 embrace the town's reactions to the supposed deaths of Tom and Huck, and their funeral:

"Curtain discovers funeral well along. Three coffins ..... General burst of weeping. The boys crawl from under the pews--preacher staring--everybody faces around ....."

At the bottom he adds a memorandum:

"In planning, the boys are going to discard their caps for plumed paper ones--wear their swords, turn their coats, get flashy sashes, false horse-pistols etc., &, it is in this preposterous gear that they appear."