Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ways to Make Your Reenactments More Interesting

Ideas for making civil war reenactments more interesting:

1. Stage a mock fight in camp. Form a circle and let two guys duke it out, then drag the loser away by his ankles and tie him to a tree.

2. Dress up as an undertaker and go around randomly measuring people for coffins.  "Are you anxious? Depressed? Irritable? Tired of life?  ...Keep it up..." (wink)

3. Be a snake oil salesman and 'panhandle' the passersby. Like this fine young gentleman: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Horace-Englebartram/190567517809794

4. Play the role of obnoxious missionary. Wander the camp and ask people "Excuse me sir, do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?" Run after them calling out loudly if they try to escape you.

5. Pretend to be the straggler who stumbles back into camp wounded and get medical attention from the surgeon.

6. Be the Jonah who causes havoc in every mess group at mealtime.

7. Actually post sentries at the entrance to your camp and challenge people who want to enter the company street. Why does nobody do this??

8. Walk on to the scene in a Matt Smith suit and a bowtie and wave your sonic screwdriver around, then look at it perplexed.  Mutter to yourself, "Oh bloody hell, wrong century again!" and promptly walk off the scene and into the nearest portajohn. Once inside the portajohn, rock it back and forth and cue the iPod speakers and play the TARDIS sound really loudly.

9. Have a lady prepare a freshly baked pie for you and leave it on a wooden table.  Sneak up when her back is turned, swipe it and run off with your prize. Have the rest of the company chase you as you run like the dickens, including the flustered maiden in distress, possibly waving a wooden rolling pin in your direction.  Run the men around in circles for a few minutes and when they finally catch you and demand the stolen item returned, throw it in the nearest soldier's face, have him punch you and fall to the ground.*

*I actually did this one at an event.  A large circle of spectators formed around us and by the time the chase was done, people were cheering and applauding loudly for the culprit.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Remember the Fighting Irish: Happy St. Patrick's Day

"Brothers of Ireland"  Artist's impression by Don Troiani

Tonight, I choose to remember the courage and sacrifice of the Irishmen of the 69th New York Infantry, and all the other persecuted minorities of early America; brave immigrant fighting men who loved their country more than their country loved them. It is to men like these that we owe our freedom. "Faugh a ballagh!"

I am about as German as they come...but I still think Irish Civil War ballads are awesome.

"A Dream of Liberty" by Wolfe Tones:

"The Dreadful Engagement" by David Kincaid:

"The Fighting 69th" by Wolfe Tones

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Authenticity Only Goes So Far

Remember ladies and gents...

Authenticity in reenacting only goes so far.  Some things just aren't worth it.  Like dysentery, pneumonia and horrible infections.  Please wash your hands before you eat. Please don't pee in the river.  If you're thirsty, drink some Gatorade. If you're worried about sunburn, put on sunblock.  If you don't want West Nile virus or malaria, please use some insect repellant.  Don't be a moron.  Heroes end up dead.

Always remember: we are trying to recreate the life of a soldier, not the death of one.