Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Valerie McGhee - always on the lookout for such things - was just bemoaning the lack of notables at Monday night's Folger Shakespear Library's Banquet of Musick. "Somebody says this is a substantial bunch, but I'd say substantial 15 years ago."
Actually, make that 400 years ago. Just as she was saying 'my recognition factor stops below the level of Jimmy Carter," in walked Henry V111.
Of course that was at least half the point of the evening, above and beyond enterning the financial heavies who have helped keep the Shakespeare libraby afloat, to bring back the good-and-old old days. All this was made possible by the Collegium Museum of the University of Maryland, a collection of Miniver Cheevies intent (especially Monday night) on assailing the seasons.
As the snow fell and the slush built up outside, the evening led on to drinks and food and the usual anachronisms that come when people play with the past.
Despite their gorgeous clothes, a few of the Elizabethans looked like refugees from the Grate Dead. A young fellow in a doublet wandered about snapping shots with a motordriven Nikon. A woman who had given up her glasses in pursuit of his torical verity stared intently at people's noses.
But most of the women and blacktied men were willing to suspend disbelief in the face of all that lace and silk, enjoying the opportunity to admire the genuine girth of Henry VIII (Roger Meersman, who seemed born to the role).
As jugglers, masquers and dancers chorused the evening to its close, one could hear Martin Atlas of the Cafritz Foundation ask a dazzlingly arrayed young lady, "Are you the Kate that lost her head or the one who didn't?" Or did either? His recognition factor stopped with the king.