Mark Twain Comes to Life in Local Schools

Ron Jewell paints Carlisle student
Luke Beavers’ hair with stage makeup.
Mark Twain came to life for local students today, when actor Ron Jewell donned an iconic white suit like those worn by Twain and took the stage at Carlisle School.  

Over 100 students took part in the workshop and performance, which was presented by Piedmont Arts.  

Jewell began his presentation by giving students some background on Twain's life. 

"Twain was born in a little town called Florida, Missouri," said Jewell. "He is known for growing up in Hannibal, Missouri," the town that provided the influence for many of the people and places in his famous books, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

After a quick history lesson, Jewell explained some of his acting techniques to students, many of whom participate in the school's theatre arts program. "Twain lived roughly 72 years," said Jewell, so portraying the writer takes thought. Calling two students from the audience to come on stage, Jewell said, "I want you to walk like a 70-year-old man." The students began to shuffle across the stage, one carrying an imaginary cane, the other a walker.   "Good," said Jewell.  "You see how they walked?  They kept their feet under them so they were sure not to fall." Mastering a convincing walk is just one trick in portraying a convincing Twain. Jewell then showed the students how he whitens his hair and mustache with makeup by painting a participant’s hair with a thick, white cake makeup commonly used by actors.

Jewell ended the workshop by taking on the character of Twain and presenting two monologues, about his life and works respectively. 

Jewell also presented his workshop and performance to students at Magna Vista High School today and will perform to a sold out crowd on Friday night at the Black Box Theatre in Uptown.  Jewell's in-school and public performances are presented by Piedmont Arts. 


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