“Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Powerful words, spoken by perhaps one of the greatest presidents in the nation’s history, are just one of the many historic moments created by the 16th president Abraham Lincoln.
To celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, the Ocean View Historical Society is sponsoring “An Interview with Mr. Lincoln,” presented by local thespians Barbara Slavin and Robert Ross.
“I got this idea when I thought about [Robert’s] stature — that he would make a great Abraham Lincoln,” said Slavin, noting that both she and Ross have researched Lincoln and the Civil War. “So I decided to take the information I had and make it into a play.”
The presentation will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. at Ocean View Town Hall. Light refreshments will be served.
“It’s the day before Lincoln’s birthday. He would be 209 years old. So we thought February is a good month to present it,” said Slavin. “I’m active in the Historical Society, so I just thought this was something that would be fun to do.”
In the production, Slavin plays a contemporary reporter who interviews Lincoln, played by Ross.
“I’m his interviewer in today’s world, and he comes back here to be interviewed. I ask him questions about his early life, his political life, how he got into law, his family life. Then we talk about the Civil War.”
Both actors will be dressed in costumes that Slavin designed and made. The presentation also features a PowerPoint presentation with pictures and music.
Slavin, who worked for 20 years for the DuPont Theatre in Wilmington, Del., owns School Day Theater, which gives similar presentations to school children. “An Interview with Mr. Lincoln” has been performed at Shields Elementary and Sussex County Genealogical Society.
“We have great fun,” said Ross. “We did one for about 300 children. It was a great joy to bring Mr. Lincoln to them personally.”
This will not be Ross’ first venture into acting, as he has previously stared in “spaghetti Westerns” and adventure films in Europe, as well as being one of the first “Marlboro men.”
“[I] wandered the earth, looking for excitement,” said Ross.
During the presentation, Ross will also share some of Lincoln’s clever one-liners, for which he was famous.
“I’ll be sharing a few of Mr. Lincoln’s famous anecdotes. He was notorious for his marvelous sense of humor,” said Ross, noting that Lincoln would use them “often to relieve some of the pressure from himself… he would tell these jokes.”
Slavin said presentations such as “An Interview with Lincoln” give the community the opportunity to learn about an important figure in American history, in a fun and different way.
“I feel like we’re either ignoring history or we’re bypassing it,” she said. “The further we get into our background, the more difficult it is to teach it, because you’re compacting it.
“With a play like this, it leaves a visual impression that might be a little more meaningful… I just feel that live theater gives a chance to visualize and have a little more fun.”
Ocean View Town Hall is located at 32 West Avenue in Ocean View. For more information regarding the presentation, or to schedule a presentation for a school or community organization, call Slavin at (302) 593-8814.