Germantown campus hosts living history performances -- Gazette.Net


If you ever wanted to ask Jackie Robinson what it was like breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier, find out from Amelia Earhart the real reason behind her mysterious disappearance or get the inside story from Rachel Carson on the dangers of pesticides, check out the performances Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights at the Montgomery College campus in Germantown.

Actors portraying the baseball player, aviator and environmentalist will be appearing at the college those evenings, offering audiences a chance to hear their stories and interact with the characters as part of the Chautauqua event presented by the Maryland Humanities Council.

Carson, portrayed by actress Kate Campbell Stevenson, will appear Wednesday. Earhart, played by Mary Ann Jung, will appear Thursday and Robinson, played by Gregory Gibson Kenney, will appear Friday.

All performances will be at 7 p.m. in Globe Hall in the High Technology Building of the campus at 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown.

The performers will give in-character talks about their lives and experiences, said Judy Dobbs, program officer for the Maryland Humanities Council.

Then the audience will have a chance to ask questions of the character, followed by an out-of-character question-and-answer period, she said.

The general theme of this year’s event is “Turning Points in History,” Dobbs said.

While Carson, Earhart and Robinson were obviously very different from one another, they each played an important part in changing how people and society thought and their experiences give them something to say that relates to the contemporary world, she said.

The Chautauqua program began in 1874 as a Methodist summer retreat in upstate New York that featured religious and educational lectures that spread to other parts of the country, according to the humanities council.

The program grew to include discussions on politics, economics, literature, science and religion.

From the late 1800s until about World War I, Chautauqua events were held in Maryland at Garrett County’s Mountain Lake Park and at Glen Echo Park in Montgomery County, featuring symphonies, operas and plays, as well as speakers such as President William Howard Taft, Samuel Gompers, William Jennings Bryan and Billy Sunday.

Along with the Germantown performances, the actors also will be appearing at events this month in McHenry, Catonsville, Easton, La Plata, Perryville, Elkton and Bel Air, Dobbs said.