suggest ways to improve re-enactment

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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby rinuccini on Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:42 am

One thing I would like to see more of and which would lead to greater involvement for everyone is museum theatre. I've seen this done well by the Palace Stables Living History group, but also by the Fairfax Battalia in England. A theme is picked IE Emmet's Rebellion as done by the Palace Stables. Every hour on the hour there's a scenario acted out. Emmet making a speech to the local people, a riot followed by some poor unfortunate being put in the stocks, training session by the militia (in which MOPs are volunteered to take part). A skirmish between Emmet's followers and the militia. Emmets trial.

Even a static display can incorporate elements of this eg in our ww2 group (hope the mods don't mind me mentioning ww2) we could have an Officer briefing/debriefing a scouting patrol, mail being handed out, medal ceremony etc.

This type of thing takes a lot of work to get off the ground, however it does get everyone involved in the show regardless of age or gender. It also makes events more interesting and educates the re-enactors as to their chosen period. Combat is incorporated, not as a stand alone scenario, but as part of the overall plot.
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby wiblick on Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:17 am

I've never been any good at first person/theatrical LH. And I am liable to cringe at the sight of it I have to confess but it does do well in many circumstances.

I think it might be a bit ambitious for many groups to add that sort of element at the moment. A big recruitment drive with NEW people will lead to new ways of doing things. The important thing is to make the basic hobby appealing to more people.
Last edited by wiblick on Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am off active duty for 2009 & 2010. I continue to research but will be attending few if any shows for these two years. I got some chickens and hope to bring them along with a more fully rounded household display in 2011.
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby Dave Mooney on Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:43 am

There's a world of difference between 'Firsts person' and 'Acting'. Acting to script with characters good! First person, stinky!
Sorry lads but it is.
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby rinuccini on Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:15 pm

Not really first person. All you need is a couple of people knowledgeable on the subject and an agreed scenario. The rest of the people adlib and get involved to the extent they want. It's a bit of character acting for 15 mins or so every hour, not a first person thing. Also it's something you would do for 1-2 event per year as certain locations fit better than others and it takes a bit of hard work, it just makes things different.
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby Cpl Flood on Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:32 pm

Padraig posted a good reply about womens' activities in the early part of the 20th century..picketing WW1 recruitment drives or reenactors having a go at pretending to be people from the past sounds like a great idea... it would definitely give a bit of drama...maybe something can be worked for next summer. :D

Making re enactment sites more family friendly is important but requires a bit of effort. As said, you need a decent base camp to facilitate this and the 'living history' roles.... as distinct from the 'killing in history' roles!
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby brendan on Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:50 pm

If you categorise typical reenactor conversation as "where would it be allowed on the tv" then most of it tends to drift past the 9 o'clock watershed. Some of this is in the "Carry on Reenacting" vein but some of it is fairly explicity - and not exactly suited to young kids.

I say this because there are few enough families that I would recommend hanging around a reenactment event to for this precise reason.

Also, watching from the outside, there is no real option for families other than head back to tent/accomodation at around 6pm and stay there for the night - and without any of the comforts of home. At least, that is what I observe happens to most families. The ones who are lucky will get visitors who come to chat.

Those are the problems - or at least some of them. As it stands there are very few events that I would recommend that a family attend.

How to make it better :?: Not sure.
But, these are some of the core issues as I see them. Are there others?? - Some people out there actually have kids (and some of you even know about it!): What do you think the restrictions are?

Regarding first person/acting I have long had the notion of running a Brehon law trial along those lines. It is a clear and simple idea but would probably take a few days of work by a few people to actually work out.

No real ideas on how to redress the perceived/actual gender gap thing.

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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby gobae on Wed Oct 22, 2008 12:54 pm

I'm sure there are 'child' rolls the kids could fill in but that will take a good bit of organisation.


This was one of our issues after we had our first major public event. The kids were just there, kinda goofing off, not wanting to help out and making life harder since we had to watch them AND take care of the encampment. After sitting down and discussing the issues our solution was stunningly simple. INCLUDE the kids in the running of the camp, don't try to find a special "role" for them. Have them do what kids their age did historically; help the adults.

Now, at first we discounted this because after all why would kids want to participate when all they're doing is camp chores? Well, after talking to them we discovered that the majority of their "aww do I HAVE to" attitude came mostly from their lack of training. They were never taught the skills to accomplish what the adults needed them to do. So, we came up with a series of common tasks we knew we'd need help with and set aside a couple of days to teach the kids. We also discovered that they enjoyed doing tasks with the adults; they became part of the "team". It also helped that the tasks were immediately relevant to the comfort and well-being of the group (themselves included).

In addition to the tasks/chores the kids are also included in the crafts our group does. Our kids (mostly aged 8-14) have learned woodcarving, carding, spinning, weaving, woodturning, rope making, cooking, basket weaving, and some blacksmithing. They enjoy doing these things and are free to do them when the the camp chores are taken care of.

Finally, lest people think we've managed to turn our kids into free labor (what! they're not?! :twisted: ), they're often given free time to walk the grounds, explore the woods, and just PLAY.

Image
In the back: Casey(9), Samantha(11), Syd (14) are helping to build the oven before the event.

Image
Syd(14) spins on the drop spindle

Image
Casey(9) learns to weave. After she was taught she (of her own choosing) spent a solid 3 hours weaving!

Re-enacting with families isn't always "light and sunshine", but it's far from impossible or a burden.
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby knightofredemption on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:23 pm

Dave Mooney wrote:There's a world of difference between 'Firsts person' and 'Acting'. Acting to script with characters good! First person, stinky!
Sorry lads but it is.


You said it ;) when we do a show there is, a certain amount of "acting" during the performance although I will drop in and out of character for comic affect.

The key words in that phrase are "acting" that's what we do, act out a role. "Performance", when we are in front of mops we are performing. Do it well and you never know what may come of it, we have been hired by the BBC because someone liked what they saw. "Comedy" if you want to be approachable and family friendly, nothing works like injecting a little comedy into your shows and displays.

I'm not saying that is the only way, but at least one other group have copied our style of presentation lock, stock, and barrel (even nicking some of my best lines, sods :lol: )

I would argue that our hobby is different from; five aside, golf, squash etc. these require a huge municipal investment for the facilities. Re-enactment has had no such investment. Also none of these activities are performed for the paying public (at the hobby level) nor are they used to advertise and publicise our countries heritage. The more professionally we act, the more likely we are to attract investment, or payment for our services. At our best we attract tourism and boost the local economy...at our worst we can be a bunch of drunken ne'er do wells boosting the economy of the local pub or off licence. I have seen far less of the latter in recent years and far more of the former. So I think we are on the right road.

Fair play there to Gobae for showing that kids and re-enactment can go together well with just a little effort, fantastic!
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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby brendan on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:32 pm

Also none of these activities are performed for the paying public (at the hobby level) nor are they used to advertise and publicise our countries heritage.

Thing is, I didnt start in reenactment to advertise anything. I do it as a hobby, for me. The other stuff may be a consequence or side effect, but it has nothing to do with why I am in the hobby.
And there is no need for municipal investment - the historic buildings and sites are already there! (that may be a bit flippant)

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Re: suggest ways to improve re-enactment

Postby wiblick on Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:38 pm

brendan wrote:If you categorise typical reenactor conversation as "where would it be allowed on the tv" then most of it tends to drift past the 9 o'clock watershed. Some of this is in the "Carry on Reenacting" vein but some of it is fairly explicity - and not exactly suited to young kids.


While I completely agree with your take on re-enactor banter, we're trying to change things here, so a "can do" attitude please Brendan! These issues can be overcome. re-enactment has stagnated and that can't be allowed to continue. We have a good base of people from which to build. And I'm not talking about us all minding each others business, it's none of my business how any group runs things - and I never want to set up my own group. I think groups would like to grow and to have new members - rather than the same pool of people running around trying to be part of various groups (says she who belongs to a minimum of 5).

And just look what Dan's group have achieved!

I know that any participating children I've met at re-enactments enjoy themselves and are basically well behaved etc. They understand quickly about safety and public interaction and their role.
I am off active duty for 2009 & 2010. I continue to research but will be attending few if any shows for these two years. I got some chickens and hope to bring them along with a more fully rounded household display in 2011.
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