Splittin' the Raft

By Scott Kaiser

People’s Light & Theatre Company Production
Director: Jade King Carroll
Set Designer: Arthur R. Rotch
Costume Designer: Marla J. Jurglanis
Lighting Designer: Dennis Parichy

“Scott Kaiser’s adaptation of Twain’s novel, Splittin’ the Raft, teases out Huck’s finest moments and themes, and balances them with Frederick Douglass’ eloquent observations on the slave trade. With this ingenious adjustment to the tale, there is no question that this People’s Light production ought to be required viewing for those who doubt the story’s relevance. Yes, the N-word is tossed about as freely as a raft at the Mississippi headwaters, but slavery is a nasty business, and its lingua franca reflects that nastiness.”

Wendy Rosenfeld, Philadelphia Inquirer

Click here for excerpt #1 [pdf]
Click here for excerpt #2 [pdf]

 

To see the Marin Theatre Company production of Splittin' the Raft, click here.

 
Splittin' the Raft

Christopher Patrick Mullen as the Preacher, Susan McKey as Huck, and Cathy Simpson as the Widow Douglas in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Preacher:
I draw my warrant from the scriptures of the Old and New Testament, that the principle of holding the heathen in bondage is recognized by God.

Splittin' the Raft

Susan McKey as Huck Finn in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
I laid there and had a good rest, looking away into the sky, not a cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when you lay down on your back in the moonshine; I never knowed it before.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the canoe. It was mighty cool and shady in the deep woods even if the sun was blazing outside. We went winding in and out among the trees. Sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back away and go some other way. On every broken-down tree you could see rabbits, and snakes, and such things.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
The next day, we laid off all the afternoon in the woods talking, and me reading to Jim about kings, and dukes, and earls, and such, and having a general good time.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Jim:
The first thing I’m a-goin’ to do when I gits to a free state, I’m a-goin’ to save up my money, an’ never spen’ a single cent, en when I gits enough, I’m a-goin’ to buy my wife, and den we’ll both of us work to buy the two chillen, an’ ef their master won’t sell ’em, we’ll git an Ab’litionist to go steal ’em.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and feverish, too, because I begun to get it through my head that Jim was most free—and who was to blame for it? Why me. I couldn’t get that out of my conscience, no how nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn’t rest. I couldn’t stay still in one place. It hadn’t ever come home to me before, what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it staid with me, and scorched me more and more.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
I see the fog closing down, and it made me so sick and scared I couldn’t budge. I set perfectly still, listening to my heart thump, and I reckon I didn’t draw a breath while it thumped a hundred. It was solid white, and still. If you think it ain’t dismal and lonesome out in a fog that way, in the night, you try it once—you’ll see.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Jim:
I’ll be mighty sure to see it, Huck, because I’ll be a free man the minute I see it; but if I miss it, I’ll be in slave country again, and no more show for freedom.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim and Susan McKey as Huck in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy by that time, so Jim said he would stand the first half of it for me; he was always mighty good that way, Jim was.

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim, Susan McKey as Huck, Cathy Simpson as the Duke, and Christopher Patrick Mullen as the King in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Huck:
It didn’t take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn’t no king nor dukes, at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to myself; it’s the best way; then you don’t have no quarrels, and don’t get into no trouble. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them have their own way.

Splittin' the Raft

Susan McKey as Huck and Cathy Simpson as Aunt Sally in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Aunt Sally:
You don’t look as much like your mother as I reckoned you would, but law sakes. I don’t care for that, I’m so glad to see you!

Splittin' the Raft

John Douglass Thompson as Jim, Susan McKey as Huck, and Christopher Patrick Mullen as Tom Sawyer in Splittin' the Raft by Scott Kaiser.

Jim:
Dah, now, Huck, what I tell you?—what I tell you up dah on Jackson’s islan’? I tole you I got a hairy breas’, en what’s de sign un it; en I tole you I ben rich wunst, en was goin’ to be rich agin; en it’s come true; en heah she is. Dah, now. Doan’ talk to me—signs is signs.