News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Arts

January 19, 2012

Actor to portray Lincoln at dinner for historical society

MARSHALL, Ill. — A special program, “And Lincoln Wrote,” is coming to Harlan Hall in Marshall, Ill., with a featured presentation by Dick Benach as Abraham Lincoln and Chuck Hand as the publisher of the Prairie Beacon. Guests will also enjoy a meal, live music and a special auction.

Set for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 3, the program is a fundraiser for the Clark County Historical Society.

Benach, a professional actor from St. Louis, has played many characters, but says Lincoln is his favorite. He has researched Lincoln so thoroughly and has performed as Lincoln so often that he easily mingles with guests as the Great Emancipator, staying completely in character and answering whatever questions guests may pose.

Hand, a retired teacher from Paris, Ill., also is a Lincoln authority and collector. Benach and Hand, who have become friends through their mutual admiration of Lincoln, have played these roles several times before various groups.

“I think our guests will discover some interesting things about Lincoln that may surprise them,” Hand said. “We keep it light, but informative.”

Lincoln, of course, had close ties with Clark County, appearing in both Marshall and Casey, either as a lawyer or as a campaigner.

His relationship and friendship with Marshall co-founder Col. William B. Archer is well known, but what is not so well known is that he was a member of the law team which took Archer to court for an unpaid bill. Later, Archer supported Lincoln for president.

At auction will be an original oil painting of Lincoln as he looked during the days he was in Marshall. The mounted painting on canvas is 16-by-20 and was done by Dane Lindley of Paris.

Lindley’s paintings have been placed in the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, and the vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York owns one of Lindley’s works.

As an added treat, those planning to attend can bid at the Marshall Public Library for the opportunity to sit at the table with Lincoln and publisher Harding during the meal.

Tickets for the program are $20 each, including the presentation, the meal, the gratuity, the music, plus the satisfaction of assisting the Historical Society in preserving county history, one piece at a time.

Tickets are available through Jan. 30 at the Marshall library, West Union District Library, Darcie’s in Martinsville, Petals & Perks in Casey, Casey State Bank in Casey, Casey State Bank in Westfield, and from Historical Society board members. No tickets will be available at the door, and the number is limited.

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