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Val Kilmer as Mark Twain — real genius?

val kilmer mark twain

Photo by Lisa Brenner

A limited run of Val Kilmer's one-man-play, "Citizen Twain," comes to an end Wednesday, leaving audiences to wonder a while about hair glue, racial slurs, mouth sounds and the curiosity of Churchillian drift.

Kilmer's Masonic Lodge series at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery was designed for feedback, and a post-show Q & A included a viewing of the actor becoming unglued, literally, as he was taken out of hair and makeup.

But even with the public unmasking, the show itself remained a mystery. Kilmer clearly knows more about Twain than we do, yet he chose not to share it in the dialogue, waiting instead to create a compelling character portrait after the main event spectacle.

With a perplexing storyline, stand-up comedy awkwardness, lo-fi imagery and jarring contemporary references, the teleprompter-guided Twainfest did just about everything thinkable to hide the actual show from the audience.