Fall ‘Trouble Begins’ Lecture Series Begins October 6

The fall 2021-2022 The Trouble Begins Lecture Series presented by the Center for Mark Twain Studies begins Wednesday, Oct. 6, with “Becoming Mark Twain,” presented by actor, writer, producer and educator Jeffrey Weissman. The lecture is free and will be available to the public on marktwainstudies.org.

In his presentation, 45-year acting veteran Jeffrey Weissman will take listeners through his history as a performer on stage, television and in major motion pictures. First, he will focus on his work portraying classic comedians; Stanley Laurel, Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Larry Fine and others through the study of their performance, private lives, postures, gestures and vocalizations. Then he will delve into what led him to portray Mark Twain in the PBS movie, Dreamland; Mark Twain in Jerusalem in 2008, (released in 2017). He will share his incredible stories and photos of how he helped a low-budget production obtain several ‘million dollar’ impossible-to-get shots. Finally, Jeffrey will bring us to the present, where he finds himself in demand as a Twain performer. He is currently in development of the Mark Twain’s American History; As I Know It television series. Listeners will get a sneak peek of the ‘proof-of-concept’ video and preview the different subjects he is tackling in the series scripts, which reveal the arc of Twain’s struggles and enlightenment, going from one side of an important social/political question to the other.

Weissman co-starred in Hollywood blockbusters, Back to the Future II & III, Pale Rider, Twilight Zone Movie and over 70 other film and television shows. He performed in hundreds of on-stage shows, and he has played characters at theme parks, conventions and events around the world. 

The Trouble Begins Lecture Series will continue on Wednesdays throughout October. Some are in-person presentations while others will be online presentations.

The 2021 Fall Trouble Begins Lecture Series Schedule:

  • Wed., Oct. 6: Online presentation, “Becoming Mark Twain,” by Jeffrey Weissman
  • Wed., Oct. 13: In-person presentation at 7 p.m. at Quarry Farm. Entitled, “Sick of War or just the War Stories? Reading the Harper’s Weekly Civil War Stories with Mark Twain” and presented by Joe B. Fulton, Baylor University. 
  • Wed., Oct. 20: Online presentation, “Complementary Genius: The Sardonic Humor of Kurt Vonnegut and Mark Twain,” by Richard Coronado, South Texas College.
  • Wed., Oct. 27: In-person presentation at 7 p.m. at Quarry Farm. Entitled, “[T]ie some buttons on their tails, and let on they’re rattlesnakes”: Twain’s Anti-sentimentality and Contemporary African American Satire” and presented by Sheri Marie-Harrison, University of Missouri.

About The Trouble Begins Lecture Series

In 1984, the Elmira College Center for Mark Twain Studies initiated a lecture series, The Trouble Begins at Eight lecture series. The title came from the handbill advertising Mark Twain’s October 2, 1866 lecture presented at Maguire’s Academy of Music in San Francisco. The first lectures were presented in 1985. By invitation, Mark Twain scholars present lectures in the fall and spring of each year, in the Barn at Quarry Farm or at Peterson Chapel in Cowles Hall on Elmira College’s campus. All lectures are free and open to the public.