The Chautauqua 2012 that is bringing three famous figures from the past to Explore the War of 1812 continued this Saturday afternoon in Elkton. For the second show, Rosalie Stier Calvert, a member of a wealthy Maryland family talked about life on a plantation near Bladensburg as the British marched on Washington, D.C., scattering ill-prepared defensive forces.
As this voice from the past echoed through the sanctuary, Rosalie playfully called on members of the audience to perform supporting roles, so she could sketch out the broader campaign on the Chesapeake. Before it was over a hastily recruited President Madison, Admiral Cockurn, and Dolly Madison joined the 19th century lady on stage to the delight of the attentive audience. Laughter frequently interrupted those scenes as the drafted, amateur thespians jumped into their roles to present various parts, usually with guidance from Rosalie. But sometimes they ad-libbed to the delight of the crowd.
The performer today was the award-winning actress, Mary Ann Jung. And while there was a lot of laughter filling that old Elkton Church on this hot Saturday afternoon, there was a great deal of learning going on too. Listening to conversations as delighted patrons departed, it was obvious that they’d gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of this unique Maryland story in a most compelling way.
Prior to the show members of the Cecil County Heritage Troupe staged a fine presentation also sharing stories about the time when war came to our shores.
The final event is Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Elkton United Methodist Church as Jill Peters performs as Mary Pickersgill. This free event is brought to Elkton by the Maryland Humanities Council and the Cecil County Tourism Office.