Written by Denise Trezza, email@example.com Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
To enter Raynham Hall on any given day is to step back in time. A recent Sunday, however, had visitors experiencing an especially poignant glimpse into life as it was during the Victorian age as Michael Goudket performed an uncanny portrayal of the infamous Dickens’ character, Ebeneezer Scrooge.
“Storytelling was one of the main sources of entertainment for people in those days,” said Goudket.
It therefore seems fitting that the art of storytelling be experienced in the Victorian parlor of the museum with one of the era’s most popular novellas, A Christmas Carol.
While reading, Goudket would periodically break from the story, but never the character, to elaborate the context for his young audience. For example, he’d say, “Yes, that’s how we washed the floor in those days, with a bucket of water and some soap.”
At the mention of the Christmas goose, he asked the audience if anyone ate turkey for Christmas. In response to those who had, he said, “Oh then you must be very rich, as turkeys are very expensive and hard to come by, whereas geese are much more common.”
“Michael is very creative and gives us many great ideas for our children’s programs,” said educational director Alexandra Sutherland. When asked about the inspiration behind this particular program, Goudket responded, “I was asked to play Santa Claus, but I’m not the right shape, so I suggested Scrooge instead. Besides, I think it’s easier to teach children about kindness and selflessness through someone who had to struggle to learn it the hard way rather than someone who was inherently good.”
Following the reading, guests were treated to cider and cookies and were invited to sing a selection of Victorian carols while Goudket accompanied on the violin. “I’m always looking for unique experiences,” said Lorraine Miller who traveled from Port Washington with her husband and infant son for the event. “This was perfect to get us into the Christmas spirit and I loved the way the classic story was brought to life.”
The museum hosts many programs for both children and adults. Children can learn to make traditional candles and soaps or enjoy their spy workshops. Additionally, the museum will be hosting an author series from January through March. Call 516-922-6808 for more information.