Dressed in a white suit and makeup, Bob Rollins bears a strong resemblance to Mark Twain, the American author he portrays.
"I've been doing it for about 35 years," Rollins said. "I had a huge makeup, voice and movement challenge that I don't have now, because I am 70."
Rollins, a Martinez resident, will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lamar House, at 415 Seventh St. in downtown Augusta during the inaugural Westobou Festival.
"It's a 10-day festival of arts events, which includes musical events of all kinds," said Julia Jackson, the programs and marketing director at Historic Augusta, the nonprofit historic preservation organization playing host to Rollins' performance. "There's also theater, dance, and other performing arts."
Jackson said she hasn't yet seen Rollins' portrayal of Twain.
"I can't wait to see him in costume with those great whiskers and the trademark cigar," she said. "I'm eager to see that and to see what Bob's personal spin on it is."
Rollins moved to the area in 2000 and worked for two years as a hospital administrator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta before retiring. He said his work schedule made it hard to find time to pursue his theatrical passion.
"I decided I had to pick a one-person presentation (because) I didn't have time to be in plays," he said. "I looked around for characters who were lecturers or would stand up in front of people and talk. I couldn't find any others that met the criteria."
Rollins said that in 35 years he has done more than 500 performances, mostly short productions at conventions, workshops, meetings and clubs.
His performance this weekend will last for 90 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission, and will mark Rollins' first full-length program in the area.
"It's a full production, which makes it different," he said. "It's a small setting and very authentic in that it's going to be in a historic house that would only seat about 70 people."
Rollins said he also portrays Will Rogers and famous American patriots.
"I come at it as an actor more than a historian or a biographer, so I enjoy getting into the character," he said.
Jackson said Rollins also performed with Historic Augusta last year when he portrayed Charles Jenkins, who was elected governor of Georgia in 1865, during a tour of Summerville Cemetery.
"A one-man show is a wonderful opportunity to get to know one actor and one personality, so I think that'll be a nice addition," she said.
Tickets cost $20 and can be bought in advance or at the door.
Rollins said he performs only the words Twain actually spoke.
"It's just a variety of some humor, some stories, but some very serious dark stuff as well, because he thought very deeply," he said. "He saw a lot of hypocrisy."
For information, or to buy tickets, call Historic Augusta at (706) 724-0436.
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