Today – January 6 – marks the end of Christmas or, at least, it did two centuries ago. If we lived in the days of George Washington, Betty Washington Lewis, and Fielding Lewis and moved within their social circle, we would all be preparing for the grandest celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas, which began on December 25. This grand event, known as Twelfth Night, was celebrated much in the same way that many of us mark New Year’s Eve with family and friends gathered together for food, drink, sweets, music, dancing, games, and conversation.
This past weekend, Historic Kenmore hosted just such a celebration in the form of a theatrical presentation titled “Twelfth Night at Kenmore.” Set in January 1776, as Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis end their first Christmas in their newly built home, “Twelfth Night at Kenmore” depicted an unusual seasonal celebration, as the growing American Revolution brings fear, doubt, and frustration to the Lewis family, their friends, and members of the enslaved community.
Kenmore is lit for the celebration.
Betty Washington Lewis (Amy Wolf) and daughter-in-law Nancy Alexander Lewis (Juliana Jones) ponder how the war might impact the family.
Betty welcomes her guests.
Guests listen to Betty’s welcome.
(l-r) John Lewis (Michael Taylor) and George Lewis (Will Goldstein), two of Fielding Lewis’s sons, are joined by Captain Richard Taylor (Scott Houk) , a local ship’s master, in the singing of a traditional carol.
Visitors, some who came dressed in colonial-era clothing, join in the singing.
Fielding Lewis (John Hollinger) leads the singing.
Our excellent musicians for the evening: Zach, Kelsey, Kaylee, and Luke Payne.
George Weedon, a leading Fredericksburg patriot and tavernkeeper.
Captain Taylor and George Weedon argue about the wisdom of suspending horse racing because of the war.
The men continue debating.
George Lewis (Will Goldstein) expresses his desire to enlist in the Continental Army.
Captain Taylor, John Lewis, and George Lewis play cards while discussing George’s desire to enlist.
Hetty (Ashlee’ James), an enslaved washerwoman and house servant for the Lewises, overheard party guests talking about Lord Dunmore’s offer of freedom to slaves and wonders if she ought to run away to the British side.
The “Twelfth Night” cast.