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Tennessee’s Partner

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Tennessee’s Partner

by Bret Harte

Genre: Drama
Setting:
Format of Original Source: Short Story
Recommended Adaptation Length: 90 Minutes

Candidate for Adaptation? Promising

EXCERPT:

Tennessee, then living with his Partner, one day took occasion to say something to the bride on his own account, at which, it is said, she smiled not unkindly and chastely retreated–this time as far as Marysville, where Tennessee followed her, and where they went to housekeeping without the aid of a justice of the peace. Tennessee’s Partner took the loss of his wife simply and seriously, as was his fashion. But to everybody’s surprise, when Tennessee one day returned from Marysville, without his Partner’s wife–she having smiled and retreated with somebody else–Tennessee’s Partner was the first man to shake his hand and greet him with affection.



COMMENTS:

In a mining camp, one of the miners steals another miner’s gal. But the gal then runs off with someone else entirely, and we’re left wondering when/whether the two miners are going to have at each other. There’s a robbery and an unfair lynching, but the men’s friendship seems implausibly intact to the very end. There is MUCH which is left unsaid in this story, and depending upon how you fill in the REASON behind the men’s relationship, you might fashion a plausible dramatic structure for a musical. (You could make a case for a 19th-century Brokeback Mountain….) But as is, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors, and without adaptation or explication, might leave an audience puzzled.


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