Val Kilmer, famous for his portrayals of iconic characters such as Jim Morrison (The Doors), Doc Holliday (Tombstone) and Batman (Batman Forever), inhabits the spirit of yet another legendary figure: Mark Twain. Kilmer continues to develop Citizen Twain, a solo show about the man considered to be the world’s greatest storyteller, taking it on the road to venues including the Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, California on April 6, 2013; the Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas, April 18-21; the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts in Wickenburg, Arizona, May 3-4; and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, June 28-July 28.
Check back at www.valkilmer.com for updates on additional venues, including surprise performances at lesser-known “underground” locations and an engagement on London’s West End in the fall.
“It’s a unique experiment,” explains Kilmer. “We’re developing Citizen Twain without the benefit of a home theater, which is a challenge, so we’re going to where the audiences are. Mark Twain traveled the world sharing his love of America and humanity, and part of discovering Twain is to do that with this show.”
Exploring the famed author’s wry humor — from politics to death, love, money, watermelons, God, racism and cats — Kilmer channels the wit and wisdom of the man considered to be the world’s greatest storyteller and the first stand-up comedian. Twain was a raconteur, and Kilmer presents his show in the style of a conversation.
“Mark Twain was the first person who talked the way we do,” Kilmer says. “Citizen Twain is a lively exchange with the audience, so my performance is fluid and somewhat free-form. That’s part of the fun. It’s a comedy and a character study.”
Kilmer’s fascination with Mark Twain began while doing research for a possible film project. Famous for his fierce commitment to fully explore and inhabit every character he plays, Kilmer soon realized that “the only way to understand Twain is when he’s on his feet and talking.” He began experimenting last year, offering workshop performances around the L.A. area including at the Actors’ Gang, Disney Concert Hall, United States Veterans Artists’ Alliance Hall, the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery and Shakespeare Center LA.
Every performance of Citizen Twain concludes with an audience talk-back while the actor has his extensive make-up removed in full view, and select tickets also include a backstage meet and greet with the actor.
“It’s an exciting performance with many layers,” says filmmaker Leo Scott, who is creating a documentary about the evolution of Citizen Twain. “I’m fascinated by Val’s process. The film is about how an actor goes about creating a role, completely transforming himself, and the extreme dedication that requires.”
Kilmer concludes, “Twain represented Americans in our entirety. He was friends with presidents, and with former slaves. All of us are celebrated in his life and his work.”
For updates on Citizen Twain, including additional venues, performance schedules and how to purchase tickets, visit www.valkilmer.com and click on “Citizen Twain.”
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