On Monday, June 17, the performance art group Flower & Flame will present “An Evening with Mark Twain,” featuring original arrangements of classical and Americana music and the readings of the man who was once described as “THE American.” The show is set for Yankton’s United Church of Christ Congregational, 210 W. Fifth St., at 7 p.m.
Flower & Flame has become a favorite in South Dakota and is perhaps best known for its performances of “A Christmas Carol,” “The Arabian Nights,” “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “An Evening With Hans Christian Andersen.” It is a group of five people consisting of a professional actor along with a string quartet made up of master-level musicians. The concept of the show is rarely seen, though it is an old one — it is a true melodrama or “melody drama” in which storytelling and music are interwoven by actor and musicians to create a unique program.
The artists have all been involved in the musical life of South Dakota through the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Dakota Chamber Orchestra and value the vibrant pioneer tradition that encourages daring artistic expression.
That evening’s audience will rove between Twain’s recommendations on character, and the hilarious life on the Dakota Territory and frontier plains, then, onto the great trip to Europe where he treats history with typical American irreverence. Human nature is laid bare with the purchase of a genuine western horse that won’t stop bucking and finally his sly advice for people everywhere.
Darrel Fickbohm, the actor/writer for Flower & Flame who has portrayed the Twain-storyteller persona before, commented on the famous writer himself in this way: “Perhaps no writer in history enjoys the reputation of Mark Twain, especially in the area of humor. In other writers, funny observations come from the time period and current social trends. Mark Twain remains hilarious and insightful regardless of age because he works from the changeless palette of human nature. Twain is now. He is always.”
The concert will be supported by free-will audience donations, so give generously, but only what is comfortable. Any profits from the event will go to the restoration of the stained glass windows in the UCC Sanctuary.
NOTE: The program may be a little out-of-reach for most children under 10 years old.