Meet Mark Bagby, Winner of “I Am the Next Mark Twain”

By • Jul 7th, 2009 • Category: 26th Story

MarkBagby_Winner1MarkBagby_Winner2HarperStudio and Borders are pleased to introduce Mark Bagby, the Grand Prize Winner of the “I Am the Next Mark Twain” writing contest. In true Twain fashion, Bagby had some great words to offer after being congratulated on his big win:

I have been interpreting Mark Twain since I was cast in the role of the great humorist and author in the Bakersfield Musical Theatre (community theatre) production of “Big River,” the musical adaptation of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” in 1991. Since then, I have studied biographies, critical essays, and read nearly everything he has written. This has helped immensely and helped refine my performances, and have since done the musical twice more, most recently in January of this year.

Also, I crafted/adapted/scripted two different two-hour shows of Mark Twain material, “Greatly Exaggerated,” and “Nobody’s Fool,” which I performed at another local community theatre, the Spotlight Theatre. These are one man shows, recreating the style and format of Mark Twain lectures, though indebted as are Twain interpreters, to the great work of Hal Holbrook, who is a great inspiration as well.

My performances have also included schools, professional groups, business gatherings and last November I did a one-hour show called “In Considerable Doubt,” at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. I am totally delighted as I think about including my local Border’s as a performance venue, especially under the circumstances!

I don’t know if I’m the next Mark Twain, as there will never be another. But I’m gratified to keep his work, life and words alive for audiences to enjoy, and I thank HarperStudio and Borders for helping to keep Mark Twain in the public consciousness, especially as we approach the centennial of his death. And I’m absolutely thrilled to have won….I’m trying to be humble, but I’ll let Mr. Twain have the final word: “I have had many compliments, but they always embarass me. I always feel they have not said enough.”

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  • King Wenclas

    There’s irony to your embrace of Mark Twain– as Samuel Clemens was the kind of self-made writer who today is being wiped off the map of the literary world. What we have instead are credentialed MFA writers who’ve played the conformist game every step of the way and whose viewpoint, on art and society, is solidlyfrom within the bubble.