Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On Being a Character

    I am convinced that everyone has the desire to be an actor in one way or another.   Children for instance love to perform and often take on roles that amuse their family and anyone that will watch and hear them.   As we mature many of us shy away from performing as we become self-conscious or have criticisms of our behavior.  Yet I think that even the senior citizen enjoys playing a part once in a while.
   This past Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of portraying the life of Ezra Cornell at the Living History Museum of Central New York at Homer, NY.   My presentation was a part of the Tractors of Yesteryear celebration.   After reading three biographies of Ezra Cornell and writing a 50 page script and practicing several times I felt I had a sense of who Ezra Cornell was.   My goal in preparation was to absorb the essence of Ezra Cornell's psyche.  In doing so I expected that I could do a first person presentation with reasonable credibility.   To convince the audience of my authenticity as Ezra Cornell, I rented a 1860's period costume.   I think the visual impact on the audience was significant.   The costume also made me feel credible as well.
   For over an hour I imagined that I was Ezra Cornell telling my life story from the perspective of my last days on earth.  It was fun to stay in that character and I think my audience was at least informed if not entertained.   After all the work I put into this presentation, I almost wish I could get another gig to do it again.  Wouldn't that be appropriate?  Especially since it is the Sesquicentennial Celebration for the founding of Cornell University.   Yes, I guess I am a character and a ham!
Ezra and a Prop in Front

Costumed and Ready

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