The Mystic Lantern Light Tours

When I was in high school and college I used to perform in the Mystic Lantern Light Tours.  They are what they sound like: tours, led by lantern light.  Walking along the dirt streets at the seaport is like stepping back in time. A period-dressed guide takes a group of people from historic home-to-home-to-ship-to-pub throughout the seaport and in each location a scene is acted out by a group of actors.  It’s a walk through a restored village of sea captains and merchants before women wore pants and planes flew overhead. 

One year when I was a tour guide, Matt, my boyfriend, came on my tour.  A few scenes into the tour, I escorted my group into the pharmacy.  In the scene, as we entered, one of the actors was supposed to point out that I was standing under the mistletoe.  My character was meant to blush and move away, never insinuating to desire a kiss as a good colonial lady.  But the night Matt attended, he improvised his way into the scene.  When the pharmacist referenced the mistletoe, Matt grabbed me, spun me back and kissed me in a perfect, romantic, movie-style kiss.  No one—not the actors or the guests on tour—knew that he was my beau in real life.  I was taken aback.  The spectacle became a running joke through the rest of the event.  Everyone assumed some strange man on the tour had just kissed me quite passionately.  It made for the best tour I ever gave in my years working with MLLT.  The crowd was suddenly at ease and interacting, promising to protect my honor, nudging me away from the brazen stranger who had swiped a romantic smooch.  The stolen kiss enabled all involved to cross into the world of make believe the seaport creates.  The lines had been blurred and both sides—cast and audience—were now part of the show as is intended during the MLLT. 

Every time I think back on that night I cannot help but smile.  The history lover and actor in me loved those years at the MLLT.  Plus, it was an unrehearsed, show-stopping surprise—the kind of moment that goes so well it makes you believe there is a little magic in the world.  And in that fine line teetering between reality and fiction, came one of the greatest kisses in my memory bank.  Best of all it wasn’t just my imagination or the movies.  I got to go home with that boy and kiss him again.

This year I already bought my tickets because my friend, Kato McNickle wrote the show.  If you are interested visit the Mystic Seaport Website.

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