And the year festival director Carolyn Spedden decided to end the show with royal guards marching Anne to her execution, two audience members tried to rescue her.
"That was a beautifully written scene," Jung says, "but part of me wanted to say, 'Hey, fellas, take it easy; it's only an act.' "
Before long, Jung quit her day job in corporate human resources and started tending bar at night. She got word to schools, senior centers and museums that she was free to perform as Queen Elizabeth and other characters. Eight years and several hundred shows later, she was a full-time actress.
A new voice
There's a difference between living history and re-enactment, in which actors learn their characters' histories, then act them out in unplanned fashion.
Jung spends eight months or more researching and writing a script for each of her characters, mining biographies, letters, historical novels and visits to the figures' homes for her material.
She has six in her repertoire, all of which she can perform at a moment's notice. Today, Jung and Plott are the top-ranking theatrical directors at Renaissance Festival (the gig supplies a fourth of their income), but her main job is as proprietor and cast of the company she owns, History Alive!
She has appeared on CNN and "Good Morning America," done shows for the Smithsonian and the French ambassador, and even been ticketed for speeding in the 93-piece Elizabeth I costume that dazzles grade-schoolers (mostly the girls).
"I told the officer, 'You've just cited the Queen of the British Empire,' " she says. "He just gave me this blank look, as if to say, 'Lady, I don't know who you are, but I knew you didn't belong in Delaware.' "
The most daunting part of the process, though, is condensing full lives into 45-minute set pieces. "I try to capture the big themes [of a historical period], but I look for the odd little details that make people real" - Barton's paradoxical shyness, for example, or Rosalie's penchant for wearing her hair in the latest a la Greque style.
"I want the audience to leave saying, 'I didn't know that,' " she says.
In the case of Rosalie, Jung relied mainly on "Mistress of Riversdale: The Plantation Letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, 1795-1821," by Margaret Law Callcott, published in 1998.
Rosalie, a descendant of the painter Peter Paul Rubens, came to America with her family, where she met and married George Calvert, a descendant of the Lords Baltimore.
When Callcott, a University of Maryland researcher, translated her letters from the French, she'd found a distinctive voice: that of an aristocrat who knew and often ridiculed the people who shaped early U.S. history.
As Rosalie, Jung describes life on a plantation (milking cows, planting crops, making candles), shares offbeat details (a letter's recipient paid the postage), and confides the rare fact that her husband trusted her, a woman, with running the estates.
What shocks, though, is how she treats famous Americans: President Thomas Jefferson ("Tommy Jeff fancies himself a great man, but I hate him"), Dolley Madison ("I cannot believe the first lady does her own shopping") and Francis Scott Key ("we call him Frank; he wants to marry my friend, Polly, but I do not like him; he is just a young lawyer with no prospects").
She even takes swipes at the audience. "I do not see any ladies here. Look how many of you are in trousers!" she says to boos.
"Look around you," she says during a question-and-answer session afterward. "Do you like everyone you see? Why would it be any different [200 years] ago?"
For Jung, it's a tougher crowd than some. The room is so big that she must sacrifice accent for volume. The kids are spread out and seated at tables, and there's the usual adolescent eye-rolling.
But a few come onstage to don costumes and portray key characters. (Their friends cheer.) Jung proclaims half the room British, the other American, unfurling the causes of the War of 1812 as though talking to neighbors over a back fence.
"Huzzah!" roars first one side, then the other, as she calls out bits of news.
The Battle of Bladensburg ends badly, of course. The outnumbered Yanks run away so fast, wags later rename it "the Bladensburg Races." Days later, as Rosalie tells it, British Adm. George Cockburn eats President James Madison's dinner before burning down the White House. (More boos.)
Soon enough, though, Jung stirringly narrates the the Battle of Baltimore, which ends more happily. She describes the Americans' joy while unfurling a U.S. flag. And when she asks the kids to sing the last verse of "Frank" Key's "Star-Spangled Banner," the crowd responds so vigorously the windows seem to shake.
Evidently, these teens do care. "Of course they do," Jung says with a shrug, gathering up her props to head home. "You just have to give them a chance."