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Arts & Culture

1-Man Dinner Show At San Antonio's Little Italy Breathes Life To Mark Twain

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Lindsay R. Cummings
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Damian Gillen as Twain

A one-man stage show and dinner theater on Saturday night, Feb.13, has at its heart on one of the country’s premier writers and characters. It’s Samuel Clemens of course, known to most as Mark Twain. Damian Gillen plays Twain in his trademark white suit.

“Yes, it’s ‘An Evening With Mark Twain.’ Lots of great material, both funny and tragic,” Gillen said. “It’s a very powerful show, plus I’m going to be adding some new material because it’s Valentines Day, including a love letter he wrote to his wife.”

Gillen has long felt a connection with Twain, in fact, tracing his time on stage and doing Twain’s work for decades.

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Lindsay R. Cummings
Damian Gillen in the trademark Twain white suit

“The very first stage play I ever did as a child actor was ‘Tom Sawyer,’ so I’ve got to say after all this time it’s come full circle,” he said.

Gillen is part of The Company Theatre and this play is a dinner theater production at the Little Italy restaurant, where dinner and drinks come before the performance.

“Each month we bring one of our shows to life onstage in their Big Apple Party Room. Normally without COVID we can get 60-70 people in there but we’re at half capacity, so we have 28 spaces available,” he said.

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Gillen gave a reading in his Twain voice about the odd fact that he was born as Halley’s Comet passed, and died when it came back around. If you would like to hear Gillen as Twain, hit "listen" above.

“Well, I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. I hear it’s coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment in my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The almighty has said ‘no doubt, here are two unaccountable freaks. They came in together, they must go out together.’”

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