Charles has, of late, been fobbing himself off as Mark Twain with some success, and will do so for the second time at the 2013 incarnation of the Brandywine Festival. (His first time was back in 2009...ancient history now, eh kids?)
He will again offer a bit of Twain’s biography, humor, and viewpoint. But it is the journey down Twain’s river of life that Charles makes most fun of all. The takeaway from his performance is Twain’s evolving view on ‘What is Man?’ Charles illustrates Twain’s view on this subject at various points during the great author’s life, while also providing you with some of Twain’s personal history (that being his favorite topic). His conclusions are what you might expect, if you know a little something about Twain: It's the journey to that conclusion that is the fun.
Charles is no one-dimensional character however, whether he is performing as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, or in his role as master teller of tales Americana, which he collectively calls his "Lost Dollar" stories. This collection of wisdom and humorous tales make up the life of a little village, stuck way back in the hills, pretty far from just about anywhere else.
He has taken Applalachian humor and anecdotes and woven them into a patchwork quilt of stories, featuring the Right Reverend, Sam and Simon Seamore, Granny Pollard and Uncle Willard to name a few of the folks in Lost Dollar.
Charles also takes great pleasure in telling Brothers Grimm fairy tales. While most people can name a handful of Grimm tales, there are over two hundred stories that the brothers collected. Charles prides himself on some real gems that are not commonly heard.
He actually owns a copy of "Kinder und hausmarchen" (printed around 1843), purchased in a little, dusty used bookstore that no longer exists. It's in two small volumes, with no illustrations, and entirely in German (of which he cannot read a word). To Charles, however, it is a tactile treasure and a joy to actually hold one of the brothers' works.
Beyond the Brandywine, look for Charles this year at the wonderful Lititz Storytelling Festival, September 13-14.