|Performing in the Meeting House at Mystic Seaport Museum.|
For the first stop on the tour I created a scene in the meeting house where a women's group is about to start a dress rehearsal of a Winter Fantasia that will be performed on Christmas Day, but their primary player is late. While the initial idea for a theatrical rehearsal-in-progress came to me early, finding the inspiration for what kind of group would be performing a play came as a result of learning about 19th century social groups. What turned up was my discovery of The Saturday Morning Club of Boston, an all-female group devoted to providing a social club for girls and young women beyond a sewing circle.
|A Saturday Morning Club member in Shakespearean attire.|
The historic group came to be known as the Sat Morn Girls and was organized by Julia Ward Howe in 1871 to provide a place for her daughter and other girls to discuss education, science, mathematics, arts, and pursue creative projects. These efforts included theatrical events that helped to raise money to sustain the club and to provide funds for community and social services.
For the Lantern Light Tour we have fun with the broad melodramatic acting style that was standard at the time, and the larger-than-life sets and costumes used to stage the plays lend some color and comedy to the evening. It's a fun opportunity to draw on history and bring it forward into our world. Lantern Light Tours and the other events and exhibits at the Mystic Seaport Museum give us a chance to experience history as a living thing.
I'm glad I got a chance to pay tribute to the women who made the Saturday Morning Club a real thing more than a century ago. It brings us together and reminds us that even with so much change, there is something essential about gathering together to share our thoughts and make art.