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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Humorous writer Mark Twain in person

California State University, Stanislaus Theater Department presented the play “Mark Twain in Person” on March 21 and 22 in the Mainstage Theatre. The play was written and performed by Richard Henzel, who gathered information from the writings of Mark Twain.
A podium sat stage left, and a long white cloth drooped down the sides of a table and chair at stage right. A pitcher of water and an empty glass waited on top of the table next to a bouquet of red and white flowers.
A man walked out smoking a cigar, sporting curly white hair with a matching mustache, an all-white suit and shiny black shoes. He introduced Mark Twain, which was confusing, but as he went on I realized that he was talking about himself in the third person. He was in fact Mr. Mark Twain.
The facial expressions that Henzel made were unforgettable; I paid more attention to his face and body language than his words. Henzel showed true passion for his role, and he was truly one with his character. The way Henzel moved back and forth on the stage, actively involved with the audience, was mystifying.
When Mark Twain began to talk about his life, he started with a life lesson that he learned: The imagination can cause more harm than good if you let it. This led into his first story about wanting to be a steamboat pilot. Twain had to follow other experienced steamboat pilots until he could pass the test and become certified.
Twain then began talking about being a part of a confederate militia and how he killed an innocent man, an image that would haunt him for the rest of his life. This culminated in a conversation with his conscience about how he defeated his invisible enemy. This section of the play was by far the funniest part.
Henzel’s vocals of all the people he was portraying were astounding. His humor was amazing throughout the play. Henzel made the audience laugh even when he wasn’t trying due to his outrageously entertaining facial expressions.
Two people walked in about five minutes late and Henzel stopped the play and began to talk to the two people. He was joking and telling them that he would not repeat the introduction, and that the audience cannot tell them the introduction either.
This form of improv happened a few more times throughout the play. This made the play seem more of a fun interaction between the actor and audience and showed that Henzel was a people person who truly enjoyed performing on stage.
“Mark Twain in Person” was one of the best plays I have ever had the pleasure of attending. The theater needs to host this play again in the near future so all people who missed this performance, or who enjoyed it, can have another chance to watch it.

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Humorous writer Mark Twain in person