Arts and Entertainment

Readers Theatre and Mark Twain meet Genesis

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Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens, is getting the Readers Theatre Plus treatment.


The local acting/writing troupe has adapted Twain’s “The Diaries of Adam and Eve” and other tales for presentation the weekend of Sept. 24 in Sequim and Oct. 1 in Port Angeles.


Carol Swarbrick Dries, co-founder of Readers Theatre Plus, said she and her husband, Jim Dries, saw Twain’s play “Is He Dead?” on Broadway, which piqued their interest in his work.


They thought Twain’s perspective on Adam and Eve would be a good fit for the North Olympic Peninsula.


“It’s such a wonderful, thought-provoking perspective on these two characters in the Judeo-Christian world,” Swarbrick Dries said.


“It’s refreshing and terrific.”


It plays first at the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse and then at First Presbyterian Church in Port Angeles.

Convincing the Rev. Ted Mattie of First Presbyterian to host the event for a weekend wasn’t any trouble at all, Swarbrick Dries said.


“His take on it was, ‘It’s a very interesting slant on the Scriptures,’” she said.


“I find that there’s nothing offensive. It’s amusing, very human and borders on sentimental.”


Sean Peck-Collier and Charisa Silliman will perform as Adam and Eve.


The play lasts about an hour before an intermission segues into other tales such as a story about Noah’s ark, a scene from “Tom Sawyer” called “Heartbreak,” a variety of notes from Twain and a page from the “California Almanac.”


“He had such an imagination,” Swarbrick Dries said of Twain.


“There’s a lot to draw on.”


Actors in the other tales are Johnny and Cheryl Bell, Jim Dries and Swarbrick Dries.


Pat Owens directs all the plays.


Radio without the radio

Readers Theatre Plus is all live performances, Swarbrick Dries said.


“It’s radio drama without the radio,” she said.


“It’s fully acted. We just don’t have a lot of staging or costumes.”


The group has served as a nonprofit since forming in 2006 with all ticket sales going to other nonprofits, such as the Adam and Eve performances benefiting Parenting Matters Foundation.


Each year they organize four sets of shows, one set by Gilbert and Sullivan helps the Peninsula Men’s Gospel Singers, one the Museum and Arts Center and one, their own group to pay for the performance costs and royalties. 


This will be the fourth Readers Theatre Plus performance for Parenting Matters Foundation.


Dr. Cynthia Martin, director of Parenting Matters, said the group has helped bring in much-needed money.


“We’re dependent on grants and special events like this,” Martin said.


On Oct. 9, Parenting Matters holds its annual auction at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club.


More information is available at


Swarbrick Dries said Readers Theatre Plus is open to other nonprofits that need support.


She said the nonprofits are not responsible for putting money into the performances but must promote them.



Readers Theatre Plus upcoming events
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, high school scholarship fundraiser, Old Dungeness Schoolhouse
• Nov. 5-7,  “Welcome to Mitford” in Port Angeles
• Nov. 12-14, “Welcome to Mitford” in Sequim, to benefit Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County

• Jan. 9, Casting and playwright call, and volunteer appreciation night; Old Dungeness Schoolhouse


Readers Theatre Plus
“The Diaries of Adam and Eve” and other tales by Mark Twain

• Old Dungeness Schoolhouse
2781 Towne Road, Sequim
7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24,
2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25 

• First Presbyterian Church
139 W. Eighth St., Port Angeles
7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1
2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2
Tickets: $12, or two for $20.
Available at Pacific Mist Books, Sequim, Odyssey Book Store in Port Angeles and through Parenting Matters at 681-2250

Reach Matthew Nash at


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