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Publishers Weekly

American Library Association's Booklist Magazine
January, 2001
"The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"

Starred Review

Chosen for

Editors' Choice:
Best Videos of 2000

(2000) 42 min. $27. Globalstage Productions. PPR. Closed Captioned. ISBN: 1-892045-09-5).

Mark Twain's famous short story is brought to life in this first-rate adaptation performed by the Persky Ridge Players and filmed on location in Glasgow, Montana. Just weeks before the council of Hadleyburg is to erect a plaque celebrating its "Most Incorruptible Award" status, a sack of gold coins is left on the city hall steps. A note attached to the bag claims that the gold is a reward for the man who gave a needy stranger $20. To claim the money, the donor must recall his exact words (that match the words found inside the bag). As townspeople plot to guess the phrase, a French trader offers temptation in the form of a solution. In a format similar to The Three Musketeers hosts Elizabeth McNamer and her young friend, Preston, introduce the drama with a brief discussion on Mark Twain's life and the concept of satire and share some closing thoughts on integrity at the end of the video. Exaggerated costumes, wry sets, and tongue-in-cheek characters convey Twain's biting satire while still driving home massages of honesty and hypocrisy. With excellent technical qualities, a reasonable price tag, and Twain's perennial popularity, this fine production is a prime selection for school and public library collections. -- Candace Smith

Publishers Weekly.
By Shannon Maughan
January 8, 2001
"The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"

Mark Twain's short story is the inspiration for the latest entry in the excellent Globalstage Theatre Adventures series, which offers theater performances with special appeal to children and families. The tiny town of Hadleyburg is set to accept the "Most Incorruptible Award" from the governor, recognizing it as the most honest town in the state. The townspeople are so proud of their reputation for honesty that the town motto even reads "Lead us not into Temptation." But the residents of Hadleyburg see their virtue tested when a sack containing $40,000 in gold appears on the steps of City Hall prior to the governor's arrival. A note on the money bag says that the contents will be given to the Hadleyburg citizen who once helped a poor stranger who was passing through town. Whoever can write down the exact words uttered to that poor stranger wins the gold. The temptation proves too great for most Hadleyburgers, and a number of them try to falsely lay claim to the money. By the tape's end, both cast and audience have explored what it really means to be honest. Agile actors from Glasgow, Montana's Perskey Ridge Players approach the material with a jovial spirit, most of them taking on more than one role. Some of the wigs/makeup could be improved, but viewers will be swept up in this thought-provoking production nonetheless. Ages 7-up.