(Benedict Arnold) and The Legends of Camelot
Ken Johnston first began doing third person historic interpretation at the 1840’s Smith Log Cabin, Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA.He worked as a Museum Educator and Living History Specialist for the Atlanta History Center where, in addition to doing third person interpretive work at the mid-1800’s Tullie Smith Farm, he concentrated on developing history based theatre pieces, centering on the lives of yeoman farmers and the enslaved. He also served as Curator of Living History and Programs for the Rural Florida Living History Museum in Tampa, developing and overseeing both third and first person interpretation.
In the inaugural year of Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City program he performed portraying General Benedict Arnold and Royal Attorney General John Randolph.At Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens he was Managing Director of First Person Interpretation and Programming with duties of researching, writing, directing and performing for the Engaging Encounters and Washington’s World programs, both of which he created and which served over 250,000 visitors per year. Mr. Johnston has done living history work in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and the United Kingdom/England.
Mr. Johnston also does freelance work in which he interprets, among others, the historic characters of Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de la Fayette, George Washington, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. At the Smithsonian Mr. Johnston has done work with the National Archives, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of American History. A Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists member, he has appeared playing George Washington in The Real George Washington on the National Geographic Channel, Admiral Lord Howe and Scottish Indentured Servant James Selkrig in, respectively, Colonial Williamsburg’s Emmy winning productions Founders or Traitors? and Freedom Bound which aired on PBS, and Whiskey Distiller Peter Bingle for the Food Network and the History Channel, The Secret of Spirits and Modern Marvels – Whiskey/Modern Marvels Essentials – Distilleries respectively. He has also performed in Shakespearean theatre, children’s theatre, improv Comedy, full contact jousting, TV commercials on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, low budget sci-fi/horror movies and toured with a rock band in North America and Europe.
Mr. Johnston graduated from LaGrange College, with a major in Speech Communications & Theatre and a minor in English. While attending LaGrange College he received the 1984 Ingrid Bergman Scholarship (for which he wrote an essay promulgating history based environmental theatre), the 1985 Irene Arnett Drama Award and was inducted into the LaGrange College Psychology Honor Society. Mr. Johnston also has Cerification in Historical Interpretation by the nationally acclaimed training program at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
He is currently the Executive Director and Director of Programs and Education at the National Civil War Naval Museum, telling the stories of sailors, soldiers, slaves and civilians in relation to the Navies of the Civil War. http://history-now.org/
Chautauqua audiences will remember Larry for his mesmerising appearances as Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Houdini, Ambrose Bierce, and Gen Wade Hampton III. His earliest work bringing history to life was his recreation of an authentic Civil War area magic show for the Museum of East Tennessee History in the '90s. Subsequently he has also produced reenactments of colonial American and Renaissance English conjurers. Since the early 70's Larry has also appeared on stages across the country as professional magician Larry Crystal. For 8 years he was a featured performer for "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" He has managed magic shops in Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach and Atlanta. Larry is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and is the Executive Committee Second Officer of the Upstate's Piedmont Area Mensa.
Larry has served as a public school educator for 25 years. He is National Board certified and currently teaches advanced English courses at Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, SC. In 2003 he was selected as the school's Teacher of the Year and has also served as president of the Greenville Council of Teachers of English. When teaching in Tennessee, he was the president of the University of Tennessee's 500 member Phi Delta Kappa educational association. He has a BA in speech and theatre and an MS in education, both from the University of Tennessee, and holds special endorsements in speech/drama and gifted and talented education. Larry has been married for 30 years, and though his children are grown, he is still in the loving care of his wife Carole and their 2 puppies, Sweet P and Gidget
Actor, playwright, poet and soon to be published author, Darrick Johnson, who is also known by many as Brother Malcolm, has always possessed an outstanding ability to captivate and inspire an audience. Whether reciting poetry, acting in a play or even center stage inside of a boxing ring, Darrick has enchanted audiences across the world.
In 1984 Darrick joined the US Marine Corps. The following year he won a spot on The All Marine Corps boxing team. 1988 saw him representing the Marine Corps in the Eastern Regional Olympic trials, finishing as a quarter finalist. In 1989, after being honorably discharged from Marine Corps, Darrick became a professional boxer. But an abusive, undisciplined lifestyle along with the strains of a troubled marriage eventually surpassed the hard work that he put into boxing, and, in 1995 his daughter, who witnessed her dad being pounded during a sparring session, expressed that she no longer wanted to see him being hit. Touched by his child’s sentiments, he finally walked away from boxing and focused on redirecting his troubled life.
The year 2000 marked the end of his marriage and the beginning of rekindling his neglected creative talent. He rediscovered it through journals he kept, where he documented many of the challenges that he describes as living inside of his head, full of anger and frustration. Soon he discovered how creative expression would sooth the soul and give birth to a poet. The same courage, once used to step inside of a boxing ring, was now needed to overcome the anxiety of standing before an audience. Over the years he performed throughout the DC metropolitan area, Camden NJ, Atlanta GA and Biloxi MS. In 1992 he was chosen to star in a video of one hit rap wonder "MC Brains", filmed in downtown Washington, DC.
In 2004 he joined the socially conscious performance group known as "The Ozziddi Project." Ozziddi in Swahili means, “Come, there’s work to be done.” The group used the arts to speak to social issues of the world and surrounding communities - an experience that would enhance his creative talents and lay the foundation for his own theater group. Performances included Howard University Blackburn Center, University of MD, College Park and historic Lincoln Theater, Washington, DC. The group also conducted several workshops designed to empower youth. In 2006 he appeared as an extra in the HBO drama "The Wire."
In 2007 the aspirations of this dreamer came into existence once again, when he won a role to portray his hero Malcolm X in a play entitled, "The Meeting", a fictionalized drama that asks, “What would have happened had Malcolm X and Martin L. King attempted to join forces?” Most recent performance: July 2012 DC summer youth program. Over the years it has been performed for several Black history month programs such as the American Medical Association, Washington, DC, North Carolina A&T and others.
In 2009 he formed “By any Means Edu-tainment,” featuring artists who use their talents to challenge and stimulate minds, in hopes of influencing and transforming lives through the creative arts. I
In 2010 he wrote, directed and performed “In the Name of Love” a poetic drama reflecting some of the challenge’s faced in trying to find love. The closing scene in debut performance concluded with a surprise marriage proposal to his then actress girlfriend, the former Ms. Cameo Jamison. They married in September of the following year.
2011 also saw debut of his second play, "Same Goal Different View - Love is Revolutionary.” Both plays have been performed in a number of locations in DC metropolitan area. The latter play’s most recent showings: February 2012 Metropolitan church, Indian head, MD, Everlasting Life Café, Capital Heights, MD and June 2012 DC Black Theater Festival Howard University, Washington, DC.
In May 2012 Darrick was honored to perform a birthday tribute to his hero, slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, in Harlem, NY. In September 2012 he performed in his first musical, "The Color Purple" at Harmony Hall, Fort Washington, MD.
(Susan B. Anthony)
Marjorie Goldman has been a free-lance theater artist for 20 years—acting, teaching and directing. Much of her work has been in educational outreach theater, bringing plays and programs of social importance to audiences of all ages. She has had the honor and pleasure of portraying Susan B. Anthony in such places as Mt. Vernon and the National Archives. Marjorie has enjoyed teaching improvisational comedy to elementary school students and adults, and has recently taken on the job of teaching and directing groups of enthusiastic residents at retirement communities.
In addition to acting, Marjorie works part-time as a library assistant, and has taught history and literature at the high school and college levels.
Marjorie divides her time between her home base of Philadelphia, PA, and Rochester, NY, where her husband is employed. In Rochester, she works as a “standardized patient” at the University of Rochester Medical School, and is a volunteer docent at the National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, as well as at the George Eastman House/International Museum of Photography and Film. She has two grown children, one of whom has followed in her “historical interpretation” footsteps as the Marquis de Lafayette. (photo credit: Karla Korn)
GEORGE FREIN (Herman Melville)
George Frein, PhD taught in the Philosophy and Religion Department at the University of North Dakota from 1968 until he retired in 1997. His courses focused on Biblical Studies, Religion and Literature, Religion in America, and the Psychology of Religion.
George served as a scholar/performer and director for the Great Plains Chautauqua Society from 1986 to 1997. He began by portraying, Father De Smet, a Jesuit missionary to Native Americans in the West. His second character was the historian and author Henry Adams. Next he took on the novelist Herman Melville. Finally, he chose to portray the humorist and writer Mark Twain. In 1998 he organized the National Chautauqua Tour and took the “American Humorists” Chautauqua to communities around the country. After that he retired.
The first thing he did in his retirement was to move to Greenville, South Carolina in 1998, whereupon he promptly came out of retirement by helping to re-establish Chautauqua in Greenville. He also helped take Chautauqua to Asheville beginning in 2000, and to Spartanburg beginning in 2011. In the Carolinas, George added six more characters to the four he came with. First cane John Adams, the second president. Next he added Governor, John Winthrop, of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Abraham Lincoln followed. After seeing John James Audubon’s Birds of America, in the rare books collection at USC, George next portrayed him. Finally, the author of children’s books, Dr. Seuss (once described as the man who killed Dick and Jane.) caught George’s imagination and he presented the good doctor just as the Dick and Jane books were having a revival (to do away them once and for all. George said). After he did Dr. Seuss, people began to say that George suffered from a debilitating case of multiple personality syndrome disorder. George admits that the voices in his head talk to hum and even to one another. To make sure he was not in any danger of having these characters interfere with his otherwise healthy and pleasant personality, George added one more character to his cast last summer, when he portrayed the psychiatrist Carl Jung. After his research was completed and just as George was ready to step onto the stage in Greenville to present Jung, the psychiatrist whispered in his ear, “Look, you are as sound of mind as anyone in your audience!” Though this left him in some doubt as he began his monologue, by the time he finished answering audience questions, George had his doubt resolved.
Now, as George prepares to portray Herman Melville for the 2013 Chautauqua, his Carl Jung voice has begun to caution him. He tells George that Melville, though a legendary American writer is as neurotic as Captain Ahab was in Moby-Dick. Jung says Captain Ahab suffered from a serious case of monomania after losing a leg to the great white whale. Jung pointed out that after his dismemberment Ahab could think of only one thing: revenge on Moby Dick. George’s research indicates that Jung is probably right and that Melville may well have been infected by Ahab, but he says that it will be his duty as a Chautauqua scholar to present an authentic Melville to his audience—even at the risk of catching monomania himself. George is trusting that his multiple personality syndrome will immunize him from monomania, but he cannot be sure.