By Eric Hansen, Director, Vicksburg District Library
The Vicksburg District Library will host a showing of “Downton Abbey,” the new feature film released in September, from 2-4:30 p.m. Jan. 2.
Library staff will provide tea and cookies for attendees, and participants are encouraged to dress in 19th and early 20th century clothes or other upscale attire as they wish although it’s certainly not obligatory. Tea to be served will come from Portage’s Chocolatea.
There is no charge to attend and reservations are not needed. The local library is happy to provide a free social event to the community which generously funds it through a millage. They do not have costs associated with showing the film because the library co-op pays for movie licensing.
It was decided that an afternoon showing would be best because the library already has a family-friendly movie one evening per month from 6-8 p.m. There is also an afternoon showing of a film for adults and seniors on one Friday per month from 1-3:30 p.m.
This 2-4:30 showing is meant to allow stay-at-home parents and senior citizens to be at home earlier. The library administration has found that some patrons will not drive after dark and others want to be home for dinner and to help their children wind down for the evening.
Downton Abbey is the story of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants living on an English country estate between 1912 and 1926. The film is a celebration of the popular television show which ran for six seasons. During its run, the show received voluminous praise from critics and won many Emmy awards.
The film occurs during 1927 and details a visit by the King and Queen to the family’s estate in rural Yorkshire. This parallels a real-life visit by George V and Queen Mary to the estate of Wentworth Woodhouse which occurred in 1912. They won’t give away the plot, but the film includes political intrigues against the visiting king, romance, dramatic family strife and conflicts between the servants in-residence and servants of the royal household.
Stephanie Willoughby, the Vicksburg District Library’s Youth Services Librarian, is a long-time fan of Downton Abbey and feels this movie showing is a great opportunity to socialize while sharing a passion for the Crawley family’s story.
She explained that Downton Abbey fans become invested in the characters. For instance, Willoughby is sympathetic towards Lady Edith, wishing her a happy ending after her trials. She also has strong opinions about Lady Mary, whom Willoughby regards as mean, and has enjoyed watching the relationship between Mr. Bates and Anna develop.
She said, “I think people enjoy the show for the drama, the clothes, and the locations the story takes place. You see how hard the ‘downstairs’ staff works to keep the ‘upstairs’ Earl of Grantham and his family comfortable. I think we’d all like to wake up in the morning and have someone bring us breakfast in bed or tea and snacks whenever we wanted. But we also enjoy watching the downstairs staff realize their value and importance and make great strides in workers’ rights.”
This means that visiting the library for this film showing, on January 2 at 2 p.m., will provide a wonderful opportunity to socialize, enjoy tea and snacks, and be entertained. They have a nice projection screen in the basement with a good sound system, as they purchased a new ceiling-mounted projector less than one year ago.