By William Grayson
The “Culper Spy Adventure,” a special presentation by TBR News Media, is an immersive digital attraction that will allow locals and tourists alike to be recruited into the ranks of General Washington’s secret Setauket spy ring. Accessed by scanning a special QR code on a panel of the Three Village map due out later this summer, you will begin an interactive 45-minute journey that puts you into the starring role of your very own secret spy adventure!
Become a time traveler as you arrive in the year 1780, crossing paths with legends and heroes: Abraham Woodhull, Anna Smith Strong, Caleb Brewster, George Washington himself! Enjoy interactive games between each episode that are filled to the brim with intrigue, action and fun! Created with the whole family in mind, the “Culper Spy Adventure” is great for all ages. We are also offering a special American Sign Language version as well as a handicap-accessible edition! Join the revolution later this summer!
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Karen Overin who plays Anna Smith Strong in this interactive journey.
Tell us about Anna Smith Strong.
Anna Smith Strong grew up in Setauket; she was a little bit older than most of the characters involved in the Culper Spy Ring. She was almost like a mentor in a lot of respects. She was very passionate about her home. Her residence was taken over by the British and she lived for a time in her servant’s quarters. AMC’s “TURN” portrays her as a barmaid when in reality she was much closer to an aristocrat. She was married to Selah Strong who had been imprisoned by the British for a time. She had grown children and did everything she could to make sure that they’d grow up in a free country.
Do you see similarities between you and Anna Smith Strong?
She wanted to protect her family at any costs, even if it meant betraying the crown. I’m also very passionate about my family and my children. She was a strong woman, and she knew what she wanted and would go after it no matter what. So yes, I do feel Anna and I have a bit in common.
What efforts did you take to make the film historically accurate?
We were striving for authenticity to the best of our ability. I’ve got a background in costuming since 1995. I like sewing, I like creating costumes, I like creating visuals. In a production like this you have to work so hard to achieve believability and accuracy. Nobody can be wearing a ring made after 1780, every hairstyle has to match something that would make sense for the time. We were blessed that we had a lot of men who weren’t folically challenged. We were able to have genuine pony tails and hairstyles that reflected life in 18th century America. We really made an effort to do it right.
Did you know anything about the Culper Spy Ring before filming?
When we were researching the characters and the history, we never realized just how much happened right here. I love that we’re able to bring the history to life and share it with the community. It’s amazing how history had forgotten this incredible chapter. It’s truly an honor bringing it back to life.