Mark Twain Portrayal at OUS Oct. 29

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

On Saturday, retired history teacher Doug Riley will visit Ironton to give a humorous, historically accurate portrayal of Mark Twain.

The performance will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Ohio University Southern Bowman Auditorium.

This is a History Alive! Program, which includes a roster of 15 historical figures available for first-person portrayals sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council. Randy Brown, banjoist from Huntington, will set the mood by performing banjo music which was popular during Twain’s lifetime.

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Riley’s love of history and humor led him to develop his Mark Twain presentation, which includes Riley introducing the historical, social and political issues that influenced his life in character; a discussion with the audience, allowing an opportunity for questions; and Riley “breaking character” to answer questions and continue the discussion as a researcher rather than as the historical character. Riley has also been selected by the humanities council to portray Stonewall Jackson for its History Alive! program.

Admission is $10 and is free for Ohio University students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased at the door or by visiting the Ironton Council for the Arts web site at

This live presentation draws upon Hal Holbrook’s “Mark Twain Tonight,” as performed on PBS, as well as other research.

Doug began his portrayal of Mark Twain in the stage production of “Big River” in 2007. This was followed by several stage performances of “An Evening with Mark Twain” at various venues which included the Paul Revere Inn in Syracuse, NY, 2009. From 2007-2012 Doug gave numerous classroom and school performances of “Readings from Huckleberry Finn.”

Doug recently retired after 32 years in education as a history teacher and administrator. In 1992 he finished a career in the U.S. Army Reserves as a Combat Arms Officer having served with NATO forces in Germany.  He resides in Tunnelton, West Virginia, with his wife where they raised three boys.