Friday, March 6, 2009

Tea at the Library

Wednesday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m. Have a cup of tea and return to 1908
By Angela Greiner Community Reporter Hudson - The year is 1908, the "Women's Suffragettes" are campaigning in England and, on the home front, William Howard Taft has just defeated Williams Jennings Bryan in the presidential election. Professional actress Rita Parisi will take community members back to 1908 as she adopts the middle-class character of "Mrs. Gordon" in her depiction of a "1908 Tea." The afternoon tea, which was held at the Hudson Public Library was a customary tradition for middle-class women at the turn of the century. Parisi explained that it was an opportunity for women to socialize and discuss fashion, family and social concerns. The 1908 leap year was in the midst of both a social and a technological revolution. Fashion, along with advances like the automobile and the airplane, would challenge the social status of women. During the performance, Parisi (as Mrs. Gordon) will entertain the audience with stories of life at the turn of the century. She will also discuss a recent trip she took to Boston. The performance will conclude with an open forum discussion of the 1908 contemporary issues and the latest edition of "Ladies Home Journal." Reference Librarian Cora Arsenault said that she thought the performance was an intriguing concept. "This is something different for the adults," Arsenault said. "... Besides, I truly do not see why the kids should have all the fun." The "1908 Tea," Parisi explained, was born from an antique Edwardian dress that she found at the Brimfield Antique Fair. "I loved the dress," Parisi said. But she asked herself, "What am I going to do with it?" She launched her first performance with little expectations other than to have some fun. What she found was that not only did the dress fit, but the public also enjoyed the shows. In 2002, she officially established Waterfall Production to highlight this aspect of her career. Now, several years later, she has developed six vintage performances in which Parisi recreates past eras. "It is my absolute passion," she said. Parisi's 14-year performance career boasts leads in several musical performances and an active involvement in the independent film industry. Her film accomplishments include films debuted at both the Boston and Cannes Film Festivals. "I consider myself so fortunate to do this type of work," Parisi said. "I am smitten with the turn of the century. This gives me an excuse to visit this time period ... I am happy that audiences have allowed me to indulge this fantasy of mine."

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