Nobody fainted when America’s great writer and humorist arrived at South Texas College to celebrate the 100th anniverary of his death.
Mark Twain, the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born in 1835, died in 1910.
Millions of Americans know Twain from his books and sayings. When Twain took a night off for his birthday, in heaven or wherever, he let a professor from The University of Texas-Brownsville speak for him.
Dr. William F. Strong, professor of English and communications at UTB, performed “A Pen Warmed in Hell’, which spins true tales, plus the author’s unique wisdom and humor.
Those two hours fascinated the audience of chiefly STC students, but some parents, a few children and some Winter Texans. Other actors have played Twain on stage. Strong did his mining of the rich material with insights he discovered while earning his doctoral dissertation.
Made up like a spitting image of Twain, plus a cigar and a bottle of whisky (unused onstage), the professor invited everyone in the audience. Dr. Strong put on a realistic kinship with the man who wrote so many classics, and said so many outrageous things, most of them later proved accurate.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Strong discuss and share Twain’s outrageous tales with our patrons,” said STC Speech Instructor Moraima Cardenas. The community heard words that were written by one of America’s greatest literary treasures.
If you missed this one-night performance in the Valley, keep looking and see it again, some day. It is worth the trip anywhere.
Dr. Strong lives up to his name. He has played Mark Twain in Texas and other states, well over 100 times. This year he has been invited to a performance in Istanbul, Turkey. His first foreign appearance was in Africa while he was on a Fulbright Scholarship.