Swine Palace made its debut 21 years ago with a stage adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “All the King’s Men.” This month, Swine Palace reprises its first performance to mark Louisiana’s bicentennial celebration.
“All the King’s Men” chronicles the rise and fall of up-and-coming politician Willie Stark. The audience sees Stark through the eyes of Jack Burden, a newspaper columnist and Stark’s personal aide. Stark’s character is widely believed to be based on historical figure and infamous politician Huey P. Long. The play explores issues of poverty, power, human nature and corruption.
“This play is based on one of our great American novels, written by a former LSU professor and holds great questions about politics, romance and human nature up to the light,” said Director George Judy in an email to The Daily Reveille. “It is a great story that remains relevant despite the time that has passed since it was written. It is a human story inspired by history, not a documentary.”
The play’s music, composed by Randy Newman, imitates sounds of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. LSU Theatre MFA candidate Jessica Jain’s bluesy jazz vocals add to the ambiance.
“When George first mentioned his desire to have one person sing all music, I emailed him right away asking to be considered for the part because when I think about Louisiana I think about the music,” Jain said in an email. “To be the part of that aspect of the show was so intriguing to me. I have fallen in love with Louisiana and I am just so thrilled by all the history and life this play represents.”
Performances of “All the King’s Men” will continue until May 5 at the Reilly Theatre.