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Twain’s stories continue in Lake Tahoe Basin

McAvoy Layne, the Ghost of Twain, performs Friday at the Mark Twain Cultural Center in Incline Village.
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There is something to be said for a writer whose work continues to entertain 101 years after his death.

Sheer brilliance proclaims most, however Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, offered a more self-effacing opinion.

“All you need is ignorance and confidence,” he wrote, “then success is sure.”



Twain’s wise and witty observations of humankind on Friday, March 4 will again delight at the Mark Twain Cultural Center in Incline Village.

The author and humorist who set the tone for American literature further developed his writing talent by writing and acquired his pen name while he was in the Lake Tahoe Basin in the early 1860s.



His spirited spirit continues to echo thanks to the talents of McAvoy Layne in “An Evening with Mark Twain.”

Layne, a North Shore resident, has been assuming the Twain persona for a quarter of a century. The impersonation delights local residents and visitors, students of all ages as well as dignitaries in foreign lands.

The presentation will feature stories best heard by adult ears. With excerpts from “Roughing It,” Twain’s recollection of moving west from Missouri are sure to entertain.

Written 10 years after the experience Layne notes the author had time to embellish his encounters with colorful miners, seeking Comstock Lode silver or gold in Angels Camp, card sharks and desperados. However, an incident during a camping trip to Lake Tahoe he says seems too precise in details to adorn with fiction.

Chapter 23 is the accounting of filling a forest with flames from an unguarded camp fire.

“He had to have been there along the east shore in a place about to be called Sam Clemens Cove,” Layne said. “It is easy to go to that exact spot and visualize him among the granite rocks.”

Other entertainment will come from selected readings of “1601.” Written as a private correspondence to his old friend the Rev. Joseph Twitchell it was a fictional lusty conversation held during the time of Tudors – Queen Elizabeth I to be exact.

President William Howard Taft once commented Mark Twain had never written a paragraph that he would feel uncomfortable reading to his daughter.

“Obviously,” laughed Layne, “Taft never read ‘1601.’ “

Real-life characters such as Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh meet the fictional Duchess of Bilgewater as Twain replicated the famed Samuel Pepys diary of the similar era. With accounts of bowels and thundergusts it has the ability offer a slightly course yet hysterically funny viewpoint of life.

It was Twain’s innate ability to observe and appreciate human nature that keeps him valued by current and future generations to come, Layne said.

Friday night’s presentation is continuing over a century of admiration.


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