It is always my intention to get my blog post out at the end of every month, but as the poet Robert Burns shares in his poem To a Mouse, "[t]he best laid schemes o' mice an' men." April proved to be a month of constantly moving pieces for me personally and professionally, and May followed suit. But, of all the events and running around over the last few months, the one that stands out the most would be the Titanic Dinner.
The third annual Titanic Dinner at the Al. Ringling Mansion was held on the 106th anniversary of the sinking. It's the brainchild of one of my dearest friends and I love participating in it. My husband and I were cast as first class passengers for this multi-course dinner that honors all who sailed on the doomed ship. As with most events I go to, all members of the cast were dressed period appropriate and had researched our characters to the nth degree. Our cast takes this event seriously even while we are having fun. We do not take lightly the fact that we are keeping the memory of these many souls alive by telling their stories.
I have had the great fortune to play Miss Elsie Bowerman, a WSPU Suffragette, the last three years, She was an amazing woman and I have learned so much from her even though we never met in person.
Allow me to share a little bit about Elsie. Born in 1889, she was 22 when the Titanic sank and went on to have an amazing life and career. She did significant work in both world wars, became one of Britain's first female barristers, and even helped create the UN's Commission on the Status of Women! You can imagine how terrified I was when asked to portray her. She's formidable! But, I love her and I hope I do her justice. Even from the grave, she has shaped me and made me rethink a number of things in my own life. I can honestly say that I am a better person because of what she has taught me. In fact, because of what I have learned about the women's suffrage movement and Elsie, a friend and I are planning on being in Washington, D.C. in 2020 (dressed as suffragettes) for the centennial of the 19th amendment.
What I love about this dinner is every person who attends is given a person to embody for the evening. They are encouraged to do some research to learn about who they are playing, and to dress up if they desire. What a delight to get to know these passengers. It really hit home when the evening finished and you learned which of the people around you did not survive the disaster. It struck me quite hard at the realization. In the end, it connected us all on a deeper level and helped us realize how fragile and precious life is.
We don't know the future of the Titanic Dinner as the mansion will be unavailable for events in their ballroom starting next year, but I can guarantee I'll be ready and willing to play in 1912 again should the opportunity present itself.
I'll close with a picture of our entire cast before the dinner started. I'm honored to have performed with this lovely group the last three years.
Till next time.
I'll be seeing you!
P.S. Here's the question I'm posing this month: Have you been to an immersive event? Did it give you a new perspective on the past or about some of the people portrayed? Let me know in the comments below.
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