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Local

Benjamin Franklin brought to life at Batavia Library program

BATAVIA – Benjamin Franklin on Sunday had a warning for those who want to experiment with electricity.

"Do not try this at home on your own," he told a crowd of about 130 people at the Batavia Public Library. "Some people have, and got electrocuted."

Chicago actor RJ Lindsey brought Franklin to life in the program "The Amazing Dr. Franklin," part of the library's Sundays on Stage series. Franklin's famous kite experiment, where he attached a key to a kite during a thunderstorm in 1752, proved that lightning was electrical in nature.

He also is known for numerous inventions, including bifocals.

"You are very welcome for the bifocals," Lindsey said. "I was tired of taking off and putting on glasses."

Along with presenting the program in character, Lindsey also answered questions from the audience as if he was Franklin. Brent Beacham of Batavia asked Franklin if he was a deist.

"Yes, a deist," Lindsey said. "Deists believe there was a God that started everything and then he took a vacation. He is not going to answer your prayers."

Beacham said he stumbled upon the program after bringing a couple of friends to see the library.

"I really enjoyed it," Beacham said. "He brought life to the character. He was very entertaining."

Franklin is one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Americans on the Fourth of July will celebrate the adoption of that document. Franklin later signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

In character, Lindsey gave his thoughts about the founding of the U.S.

"It is only as good as the people who are a part of it," he said. "The people will determine whether or not it fails."

This is the third year of the library's Sundays on Stage program.

"We've received good attendance for most of our other programs," Batavia reference librarian Lee Blakley said. "It has proved very popular."

The next program on July 27 is "Tribute to Marilyn Monroe," followed by the Fabulous 50s on Aug. 24. All programs begin at 2 p.m.

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