SEARSPORT — You have probably heard of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Abbie Burgess, homeported in Rockland, but have you heard of the heroine Abbie Burgess Grant, for whom the ship was named? Seventh-grader Melanie Rosenberg of Boulder, Colo., will bring Abbie to life when she performs a living history portrayl of the famous Maine lightkeeper.
As Abbie Burgess, Rosenberg will tell the harrowing story of tending the Matinicus Rock Light for nearly a month while her father was away from the island; and what it was like to become a well-known heroine. Rosenberg will also reveal discoveries she made during research of the girl and the event, discoveries that might surprise people who only know Abbie's story through children's tales. After the performance, Rosenberg e will answer audience questions, both in and out of character.
In her native Boulder, Rosenberg is a member of Young Chautauqua, an award-winning youth program in which young scholars research and portray people from the past. The scholars use their research to create a complete historical character right down to period correct clothing, language and worldview. The presentations given by the young scholars use monologues and question-and-answer sessions that engage audiences in a lively exploration of the past.
Visiting her grandparents in Fryeburg, 11-year-old Rosenberg came across The Original Biography of Abbie Burgess, Lighthouse Heroine by Dorothy Holder Jones and Ruth Sexton Sargent. By the time she finished the book, Rosenberg knew that she was going to portray Abbie Burgess for her next historical role.
Rosenberg will give two performances Wednesday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Discovery Center in The Old Vestry at the Penobscot Marine Mmuseum in Searsport. The performances are free with admission to the museum.