Out-of-character

warning to you gentle reader, the journal entry that follows is written entirely in an 'out-of-character' manner that may be found troubling by those with weak constitutions or who are easily confused by such things. If you fall into these categories I will urge you to read no further...



So my busiest season draws to a close and it gives me pause to do what I usually do about this time every year... reexamine my online journal and my interpretation as 'The Doctor'. I've had some fantastic adventures this year and traveled far and wide. I've logged alot of miles and worn out the tires on the TARDIS (the name the girls and I have affectionately given to our blue Chevy Uplander).

The Two Doctors

We traveled to Fort Niagara and met the good Doctor Clift and young John, the injury-prone grenadier. We befriended Capt. Jack and Sgt. McBee and traveled to Schoenbrunn Village. We even visited new places for the first time like Fort Boonesborough & Blue Licks. We've had al sorts of fantastic adventures!

That being said, it's time for a change...


No real changes to the journal here... I've got it right about where I want it for now, but my interpretation needs a little something.


My pet peeve at events that I attend are reenactors who talk about modern, 21st century stuff right in front of the public. This really spoils the 'time travel' effect that I believe that we should strive to achieve at living history events.


I've heard and seen a little bit of everything as far as this 'spoilage' goes, from reenactors eating and drinking out of styrofoam cups and bowls (totally guilty), talking about internet, websites, cel phones (slightly less guilty) to having modern items strewn about their camps.


As noted above, I am guilty of some or all of these things in varying degrees. I find it irksome in others, but I am harder on myself about it than anything. That being said, I have decided that it's time to take 'the Doctor' to the next level.

Therefore, I have decided that in the coming year I will attempt to:


-Make sure I always have appropriate vessels in which to take my meals. I've been kind of lax on this in the recent past... and I think that this will be the easiest thing on my list to remedy. I own correct vessels, I just hate to carry them. :) The sight of a guy with his cup tied to his belt just seems so "Ren-Fair" to me, perhaps I can come up with a more creative solution.

-Eliminate modern paper money and my modern wallet in favor of more 'correct looking' gold dollars in a drawstring pouch. I saw Doc Muzzy with a similar pouch full of gold dollars and quarters, and it looks fantastic! I always hate buying things at events and pulling out modern paper dollars...

-And finally, the toughest of them all... I would like to try to stay in character as the Doctor 24/7 at events for the benefit of the public and other reenactors. There are SO many little simple things that I can do to kick this off that I don't already do... like bowing to people, that's easy, but a hard habit to get into. I have no doubt that this will take lots of time and patience on MY part, and will be very difficult.


My thinking here is this, I've done (and continue to do) all this research... I've invested all this money in clothes and gear, why not take it a step further? Heck, I'm so close to being there anyway...
My main concern is that I don't want to disorient or put off the public (or other reenactors for that matter) who don't get what I'm doing. I understand that not all public (or reenactors) dig the first person thing.

I would love to hear YOUR comments and suggestions, let me know what YOU think!

9 comments:

Bob said...

This is a wonderful idea, and is pretty much where I want to go myself. I have always been careful about the items in my camp, including eating/drinking ware, and even inside my personal living space. I also need to spend more time learning all of the correct mannerisms and speech. Unfortunately, like many others, I tend to relax once the public leaves for the night - a habit which I also need to break!

Soon to be the preacher

Paul A. McClintock said...

I am working towards this as well. One reason why I haven't attended events over the past few years is because I haven't the period correct items. I am now set with the eating/drinking ware, working on a new set of clothing,building a folding bed,etc. Now I must work on my mannerisms and speech. Reading your journal has helped, Thank kind sir.
YHS
Paul A. McClintock
Bookbinder and Stationer

William Whitley said...

I have often thought that I would benefit greatly from a weekend immersion event, where no incorrect items OR SPEAKING is allowed - EVERYTHING MUST BE PERIOD - much in the same way that a method actor or actress would prepare for a role. What would be the level of interest in this? This could be complemented by an evening or two of instruction leading up to the event. What would be the level of interest in this? Maybe even eventually becoming an elite group of first-person reenactors dispersed throughout the country???

The Doctor said...

I find it interesting that there doesn't seem to be ANYWHERE (that I'VE been anyway) that really encourages the 1st person thing. When I first got started, I thought there'd be more... perhaps if there's a well known group of us that do it, it'll create a shift?

Well one can hope anyway.

Chole said...

When I think about doing first person I frequently find myself asking, "Will this convey my information to the public better?", "Are there others doing first person who will interact with me?", "What would a person of my position say to so & so?". When I realized the answer to those questions was "no" or "nothing" I gave up on any thought of doing first person & have gone back to simply being content if anyone comes to see my demo.

It's a bit cynical but I think there might be more reenactors out there that feel the same way, any desire to do first person has been squashed by the lack of support & isolation that it creates when you are the only one attempting it.

Chole

Captain Matheney said...

Doctor and all,
Greetings!

First off, great blog-spot Doctor! It's one of the few I have in my favorites. In response to your "out of character" comments I'll add one of my own: Some, (not all!), highly authentic reenactors idea of "1st Person" is to pick apart everyone elses gear. "That's right...that's wrong...etc." Perhaps feeling that if they're talking about an authentic subject...well, it must be period correct. That's not 1st person at all.
Respectfully,
Chris Matheney
Captain of Rangers

The Doctor said...

Widow Black- Yes there has been plenty of 1st person squashing out there... I'll give it a shot and see where it gets me.

Capt. Matheney- Thanks for the compliments on the journal. I have no intention of turning into one of those type of folks with my interpretation.

All- This is something that I'm doing as a teaching/learning thing for the public as well as a learning experience for myself.

American Duchess said...

THAT is hard core, m'dear! You are most inspiring!

Bridgett McGee said...

betwixt you and I and a scant few others, your desire 'tis not as hard pressed as thee might think to convey the proper dialect when at all possible. Would do thee well to study upon the 18th c dialog of the bawdy commoner side. Tis always great fun to make mention of the three penny mare being a cure for the curmudgeon in camp, or to make references that one might not want to site near so and so as he is known to be an Admiral of the narrow seas. Those in the know then have a secret language and those in the not, want to know. This use of terms makes it an amusement rather than a chore.

My children are well versed in what is "period appropriate" and what is not and like to remind folks to hide their "plast" "tic" items if they can see them. Coming from a child tis far less offensive.
I find that the most occasion to do first person has always been with my Native friends. I clearly recall an full hour of conversation from Seneca to Delaware to French to German to English while having tea in one of our camps. Went on til the meaning was fully lost in translation and finally some one said Big Mac. what a hoot.
I've successfully explain a daughters ADHD while negotiating an apprenciceship in front ofthe general public to her tinsmith Master in 18th c terms., You and I have tried to do the same in a chat or two. My own blog is the result of an attempt to get the mindset by writing my 18c lover, as you well know. I also write a few of Father's friends in the proper fashion via email or snail mail. For me, currently, 'tis far harder to write to a dear friend of Father than a bawdy love note to Burrows or gossipy note to a lady friend. Should you be desiring a Dearest Cousin to write, I would be most happy to accommodate the request. Shall we use proper quill and candle light and ink and post? Quite naturally, I assume your reply is in favor of. I will Private post you for post exchange information.
I endeavor to be most supportive of you efforts,

Your friend,
Bridgett McGee of Chillisquaque