Not to give too much away, but there’s a moment in “Mark Twain’s A Murder, A Mystery and a Marriage,” the new play at the Two River Theater, that involves a last-minute rescue of an innocent by a lawman in a ten-gallon cowboy hat.

It’s what Latin lover (the language, that is) Mayor Pasquale Menna calls a “deus ex machina” — or “god from the machine,” a theatrical concept connoting a fortuitous reversal of fate by implausible means.

Well, pardner, at last night’s first preview of the play, the role of the deus/marshal was played by none other than Menna himself.

“They needed a body, and they said I was it,” Menna tells redbankgreen this morning. “I hope I didn’t embarrass Red Bank too much.”

Menna says TRTC artistic director Aaron Posner called him yesterday to offer him the walk-on role, which comes with about five minutes of stage time, a smattering of lines and, in his case at least, no rehearsal.

Menna couldn’t resist, though he’s much more comfortable donning the finery of aristocratic Europe when he’s not in his lawyerly togs.

“I looked ridiculous in that hat, like George W. Bush,” he says. “Then again, some people say I am a Republican.”

We hear that the marshal’s role has also been offered to at least one other political luminary: 12th-district Democratic Congressman Rush Holt.

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