Mark Twain, the author born Samuel Clemens in 1835 Missouri, was ahead of his time in many important ways. That’s one reason his brilliant novels endure, and why they’re just as funny as they were when they were published more than 140 years ago.
Richard Geary could tell you all about that. He’s the actor, director and playwright who owns the Planter's Barn Theater in Hannibal, Missouri. His 18th season there kicks off this May, featuring shows focused on Twain’s life and work. Geary portrays Twain and uses only the words of the author and humorist. He’s proud of his Twain impression.
“I was able, a number of years ago, to listen to a Thomas Edison recording of him. A friend was working in the Smithsonian, [and] they had found it, one of those little cylinders. I spent a whole day listening to it, and I base my voice on that, the Mark Twain voice,” Geary said. “I have some Edison movie clips they made of him also. What I try to do is to put all the pieces together. The greatest compliment I get is when people say, ‘We forgot that you were acting.’”
This summer’s show is called “Mark Twain for President,” and it focuses on Twain’s satirical runs for the nation’s highest office. Before that, on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, Geary will perform a show called “Mark Twain on Slavery.”
He talked about these performances in an interview with St. Louis on the Air host Sarah Fenske. Take a listen:
What: “Mark Twain on Slavery,” a one-man show
When: Feb. 21-22
Where: Planters Barn Theater (319 N. Main St, Hannibal, MO 63401)
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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