HAMPSTEAD — The great American humorist's spirit and style take center stage this weekend, as the North Carroll High School Thespians perform "An Evening With Mark Twain."
Nearly two dozen students will perform in teacher Roberta Rooney's adaptation of material drawn from Twain's classic novel "Huckleberry Finn" as well as "The Apple Tree," "The Diaryof Adam and Eve," "Noah and the Bureaucrat" and other stories.
"This is different from anything we have ever done, since we usually do two-act plays," said Rooney, who has taught drama at the school for 10 years. "This is a variety of works, which best capture Twain's classic writing style."
Choosing a play last year for this year's fall production was not easy for Rooney and her troupe.
"We hada difficult time finding something that everyone liked," she said.
"I think we started to talk about Twain, and I suggested that we piece something together that would give us a whole show displaying Twain's spirit and style."
Sixteen-year-old senior Pat Barry, in his eighth high school production, plays Twain.
"Mark Twain was a realperson, and I find that I am doing more impersonatingthan acting," he said. "I have to try and think along his lines, portray his persona."
"I think the audience will find the play presented in a different perspective than expected," said 17-year-old Kim Massimore, who narrates nearly every scene in the first act.
"It's a storybook-typething," the senior said. "The first scene is about Twain, and he watches from the sidelines while his works are being performed.
"As the narrator, I advance the scene," Kim said. "Twain looks on, and at the end of each scene he gives his own commentary."
Josh Scanlon, who plays Huck Finn, said the production is "really funny."
"Thereare a lot of jokes," the 13-year-old said. "When I first looked at the script, I really thought it was neat."
Twain, probably best known for his early adventure stories, turned more toward satire in later writings, such as "The Diary of Adam and Eve."
In "The Diary of Adam and Eve," Eve is portrayed as "the typical woman stereotype," Kim said.
"She loves to talk and is always concerned about how to decorate the hut. Adam is the stereotypical man. He just can't understand women."
Barry said that the play's many intriguing characters will draw in the audience.
"While Twain is the center of attention.there are other roles that command as much attention," he said.
"It's not a one-man show, it's a team effort."
Doors open at 7:40 p.m. Friday and Saturday for the North Carroll High School Thespians' production, "An Evening With Mark Twain." Showtime is 8. All seats are $3. Information: 374-6105.