You are cordially invited…
On Saturday, April 9th, 2016, I’m pleased to announce I will be participating in a very swanky and unique event. Midwest-located lovers of history and/or the 1997 James Cameron blockbuster film will be pleased to discover that there is a special re-enactment dinner taking place at the Al Ringling Mansion in Baraboo, WI.
With a greeting from Captain Edward Smith and his officers, and a bugle call to dinner, guests will be whisked away on a romantic and poignant journey to the final dinner in First Class aboard the Titanic the night of the sinking – April 14th, 1912. Upon arrival, guests will be given a card describing which passenger they are representing for the evening – and they can choose to interact as that person or simply observe and be themselves. An exquisite eight-course Edwardian meal will be served much in the way it would have been served on the ship, and a live string quartet will play music the guests might dance to. A cast of professional actors (hey, that’s us!) will be portraying a wide spectrum of high society from the Titanic’s First Class passenger roster, including J.J. Astor and his young bride Madeleine, the “Unsinkable” Margaret Brown, Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his infamous fashion designer wife, Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon, and more. There will also be Captain Smith and some of the finest crew members of the White Star Line, including the ship’s designer, Thomas Andrews, and the chairman of the company, J. Bruce Ismay himself.
There will be many reproduction artifacts on display, and a handful of actual artifacts from the Titanic as well – which is awful exciting. And to top it all off, Helen Benzinger (the great-granddaughter of the “Unsinkable” Margaret Brown) will be attending as a featured speaker to participate in the event. At the end of the dinner, guests will be informed who among them survived or perished, and discussion will follow regarding the aftermath of the tragic sinking (which we will not be re-enacting because wow that would be sadistic and disrespectful).
Naturally, we’re excited to wear our fancy Edwardian gowns and formal suits, but we’re also just excited to have an event to honor the memory of those lost, and to commemorate the exquisite grandeur of a time gone by. As historical re-enactors, we love exploring what it is like to live a day in the shoes of someone who lived long before ourselves, and the Titanic has long been a source of fascination for historians and enthusiasts the world over.
I’ll be there as Broadway actress and silent film star Dorothy Gibson – I can’t wait. Hers is a fascinating story. Actually all of the stories of Titanic passengers and their families are surprisingly fascinating – and incredibly moving. If you’re in the area and this sounds like your thing, we’d love to have you join us at the beautiful historic Al Ringling Mansion.