Tom + Huck + Jim

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This play pieces together two memorable action sequences from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the sequel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with introductory commentary from his autobiography.

Archival record excerpts of Tom + Huck + Jim uploaded to Vimeo.




Mark Twain returns mysteriously, to attend a twenty-first century celebration of his work. His childhood memories stir recognition and connections to the fictional characters he created, particularly to the boys, Tom, Huck and Jim. Act 1 focuses on Tom and Huck’s witnessing of the macabre events in the town graveyard and Tom’s testimony at the subsequent trial of Muff Potter. Mark Twain’s recollection of the era of slavery in American life introduces the adventures of Huck and Jim in Act 2. Huck and Jim run escape from harsh family and social pressures of Nineteenth Century life on the banks of the Mississippi. They forge their friendship and find freedom on their raft on the river.



This physical theatre production suggests some specialized visual and sound elements, and playful scale. The setting is a literary landscape – suggesting village, dwelling, river, raft – abstracted from the typography and illustrations of the original publications of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.   A standing book as tall as Twain functions as a doorway in Act 1 through which his fictional characters might enter, and laying flat, becomes the raft in Act 2.

A large muslin screen, employed in backlit cameo scenes, functioning also as a shadow puppet and projection screen, facilitating swift time and location changes throughout the play, should be incorporated into the design.

A dedicated retreat area is included, for a musician and characters who are on side-stage for the duration of the show – namely, Mark Twain, Sid, Doubletake and Topsyturvy.


The popular music of Mark Twain’s era is a key element, and should be used to underscore scenes where appropriate. Specific 19th American songs and spirituals are included in the script. Though this is not a musical per se, there is room for original composition resonant with the rhythms and styles that might have floated up and down the Mississippi to New Orleans at that time.

A score of delightful music and song, composed by Thomas Hodges for the original production, is available upon request from the playwright.



Copyright note: Tom + Huck + Jim, being fully protected under the copyright laws of the USA and all other countries of the Copyright Union, is subject to a royalty. Arrangements for production should be made directly to:

Margaret Larlham (Scripts)

School of Theatre, Television and Film

San Diego State University,

5500 Campanile

San Diego. CA 92182



Number in cast: 12 – 14

Mark Twain, Doubletake + Topsyturvy, Miss Watson, Teacher, Judge, Prosecutor, Defending Attorney, Preacher. Tom Sawyer , Huckleberry Finn, Pap,Jim, Aunt Polly, Ben Harper, Jo Harper, Sid, Becky, Doc Sawbones, Muff Potter, Injun Jo.






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TYA at SDSU with Margaret Larlham

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