“Verisimilitude in Living History Portrayals”

Have you ever listened closely to the words people use that suggest how they perceive the concept of truth? As a portrait artist and actor, one of the central tenants of my craft is to find “the truth” in my character. Accordingly, it is presumed, or rather, I must present, as if I know what truth is. But our pursuit of truth tends to give short-shrift to concepts we encounter every day that are actual synonyms for truth: legitimacy, reality, fact, and news are but a few concepts whose understanding depend upon the shared belief of truth. In this presentation, we will use dramatizations of the “content of character” to examine the notion of truth with complete disregard for limitations.

Bill Grimmette began acting in 1968 in a conservatory in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was born in Alabama but fled, with his dignity nearly shattered from 17 years of Jim Crowism, to the comparative safety of military service. His discovery of classical Myths while attending Marian College (now Marian University) in Indiana, A liberal arts catholic college and his fascination with Method Acting helped to offset the religious dogma’s that allowed cultural bigotry to masquerade as genetic distinctions. He earned both a BA and MA in Psychology at Marian and Catholic Universities respectively while serving 20 years in the Army. Retiring as a Major in 1982, Bill pursued his professional acting career full time which led eventually, to his living history portraits. He has performed in King Lear, Othello, Driving Miss Daisy, and some 1000 other plays over these 50 years of theater. Bill will be performing as Frederick Douglass for Maryland Humanities this July at the Chautauqua Living History performances.

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