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"I Am Not Mark Twain", Written and Performed by Steven Cragg, Directed by Ron Lagomarsino; Groundlings Theatre, 7307 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles 90046;
(323) 934-4747, Running Mondays February 2004
a kate west review

 


Steven Cragg, alumnus of the well-known Groundlings Troupe is currently performing his unusual one-man show "I Am Not Mark Twain" at the Groundlings Theatre through February. The previous incarnation was directed by Melanie Graham (another Groundlings alumna) and depicted Cragg, southern accent and all, in a Mark Twain costume with the disclaimer that he is most definitely not Mark Twain. (You need to see the show to get the joke). The one act is actually about Cragg's personal life which he shares with the audience in painful detail. From his crazy road exploits with a drinking buddy, to the terrible scare he had when his son was diagnosed with a serious disease, Cragg keeps the audience in turn involved, sympathetic, enchanted and dismayed.

The current production directed by Rob Lagomarsino is an extension of the earlier work, maintaining the same emotional intensity and pathos. Combining sarcasm, witty humor and revealing frankness, Cragg once again holds the audience captive. Along with his "not-Mark-Twain" costume, he presents slides of his life, daring us to judge his choices, while keeping his dignity and integrity intact. This is an amazing show and an amazing insight into a complex and intelligent man. It is well worth time invested and may leave you dizzy from all the strongly exposed passion. Don't miss it.


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