The key to some stories is in the title. Such is the case for Mark Twain’s novel, The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today. The subtitle of the story Mark Twain penned in 1873 remains an apt description today: it not only depicts a period in American history known for greed and corruption, but certain elements bear a striking resemblance to modern America as well.
Paul Edwards’ stage adaptation, renamed The Gilded Age: A Story of Today, is making its world premiere at Chicago’s City Lit Theater. The play follows the story of Laura Hawkins, a Tennessee beauty turned high-society lobbyist who will do whatever it takes to make her adopted family rich through a congressional land deal. Although some elements of the play, such as a steamboat race, are distinct markings of Twain’s time, others, such as Laura’s scandalous life and the questionable dealings among the lawmakers that surround her, call to mind our own. A satirical tour of Twain’s America with disquieting undertones, The Gilded Age is a timeless reflection on the unfavorable parts of how society, past and present, operates.
The Gilded Age will run Fridays and Saturdays through February 21. Tickets are $29, and can be purchased here.