A dynamic River Forest Public Library program on the life and times of Marie Antoinette recently enthralled an audience looking to step back in time more than 200 years.
From the moment Martina Mathisen strode into the room on Sunday, March 6th, she embodied the 18th century queen of France, complete with regal bearing and an Austrian accent owing to her place of birth.
The free presentation, attended by nearly 50 people, helped kick off Women's History Month and was part of a series sponsored by the Library and River Forest Township called "Let's Celebrate Seniors All Year Long."
Included in the presentation were photos of Versailles, where Antoinette, the 15th of 16 children, lived when she moved to France to marry the heir to the throne, Louis XVI. She was 14 at the time; Louis was 15. Less than 25 years later, both were executed during the French Revolution.
Among other insights from Mathisen, the audience learned that Antoinette never actually made a comment widely attributed to her: "Let them eat cake." Instead, it was likely stated by a princess a century earlier.
Upcoming talks in the series co-sponsored by River Forest Township and held at the River Forest Public Library are:
Sunday, April 3, 2 p.m. - Tour the Gardens of Holland with landscape photographer Linda Oyama Bryan.
Sunday, April 17, 2 p.m. - As a preview to the Wright Plus Housewalk in May, actress Ellie Presents provides a costumed interpretation of "Regretting Mr. Wright: Mamah Cheney Tells Her Story."
Although the programs are especially tailored to seniors, they are free and open to people of all ages, as well as those from outside River Forest and Oak Park.
The series name is inspired by—but not directly associated with— Celebrating Seniors Week. River Forest Township is a strong supporter of the not-for-profit initiative, which this year goes from May 12-19. During that week, there are over 40 scheduled programs throughout River Forest, Oak Park and Forest Park.
For more information, go to www.CelebratingSeniors.net.
Mathisen, founder of Edu-Tainment Living History, is online at www.martinamathisen.com.
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