Perkins Players transported visitors back a century

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About 50 people returned to 1919 on June 5 and and join GOP powerbroker Vince Lumley, then McHenry County State’s Attorney, as he took the community’s pulse … and tried to decipher why it was racing!


WOODSTOCK – The domestic turmoil gripping McHenry County and the rest of the country in 1919 were eerily similar to what we are experiencing today.

After failing to win what it considered a “just peace,” the U.S. embraced isolationism, a policy incoming President Warren Harding dubbed “normalcy.”

It also was a time when foreign-born citizens, especially Germans, and those who advocated for “socialist” principles such as unionization and free trade were looked upon with suspicion. In some cases, naturalized citizens were asked to prove their loyalty; asked to prove they were not in league with the Communists.

The “Red Scare” resulted in the deportation of more than 30 natural-born American “anarchists,” led by firebrand Emma Goldman, to Russia in February 1919. In April 1919, authorities discovered a plot for mailing 36 bombs to prominent political and business leaders.

If that were not enough race riots broke out in Chicago, leading to a week of violence that claimed 38 lives and underscored the nation’s racial divide. Plus, women were advocating for a larger role in decision-making – from politics to the workplace.

Special thanks to cast members Craig Pfannkuche of Wonder Lake, Norm Vinton of Crystal Lake, Ed O'Brien of Harvard, Leslie Schermerhorn of Bull Valley – as well as staff members Michelle Hujer and Kurt Begalka, who also played roles.

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