Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve

Legacy Theatre

By: - Jun 13, 2024

How would the first woman and man on earth think about the world around them? Mark Twain, in two short novellas, imagined what Adam and Eve would write in their diaries as they experienced the Garden of Eden. The actor David Birney turned these into a one-act play, Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve, which is now at the Legacy Theatre through Sunday, June 16.

We meet Eve, played by Mariah Sage, on the first day of her life. She is in awe of the Garden of Eden, captured in the luxurious set by Jamie Burnett, which features not just plants and trees but is complete with benches, waterfalls, and columns.

As Twain imagines her, Eve is confident and self-reliant. She quickly is convinced that she is an “important experiment,” but she wonders what the purpose of the experiment is. She isn’t afraid of this new world but starts exploring it, filled with awe at what she sees.

When Adam appears, he seems less observant and awed by this new world he has been plopped into. As played by Rob Brogan, you can picture him in front of the TV with sports on and snacks. Even his posture is more relaxed than the ever-observant Eve.

Some scholars believe Twain’s initial short story, “Eve’s Diary,” was written in memory of his wife as it was published in 1905, two years after her death: “Adam’s Diary” was published much earlier, in 1893.

In the originals, Twain retells the story of Genesis covering more than 40 years, including their exile from the Garden of Eden and Adam’s death.

The play, which is about 70 minutes, focuses more on their initial meeting, the years in the Garden, and the birth of Cain and, later, Abel.

You marvel at Twain’s imagination as Adam first encounters Eve and later their son, Cain. He tries to analytically determine what it is – a fish? A kangaroo or another creature?

Watching the show, I vacillated: did Twain overuse some common female stereotypes, or was he presenting a loving portrait of his late wife’s endearing habits?

Eve talks almost constantly to the point that Adam wishes she would be quiet. As they experience the new things in the Garden, Eve not only names everything but is absolutely sure that is the correct name. Adam complains that he never gets to name anything; Eve either jumps in and names it or rejects his name.

As shown by Twain and the performances of Brogan and Sage, you wonder why man became dominant. Eve is clearly the one in charge. Adam is more the pupil to Eve’s tutelage than the one in charge.  Eve admits to us that she recognizes that Adam is not her equal and, therefore, tries not to embarrass him for what he doesn’t “get.” These lines drew immediate audience laughter.

Twain’s humor and wit shine through the play and this production. You will not be laughing every minute, but you will find many funny observations and intriguing philosophical points. Eve introduces the concept of “we” to Adam and ruminates on her love and her need for him, no matter what.

Anytime you can experience Twain’s wit and views of the world and the relationship between men and women, you come away with new insights.

Mark Twain’s The Diaries of Adam and Eve at the Legacy Theatre is a solid production. Since the show is not often done, this is a good chance to see it.

Tickets are available at

This content is courtesy of Shore Publications and