One purpose for a gathering
is to have fun, but the main reason for an encampment, for me,
is to educate the public.
We all have spent a great deal of time and money developing our
19th century appearance. I am sure many of us have searched through
antique shops, flea markets, suttler catalogs, guns shops, etc.
for that special accessory that we just cannot live without. We
take pride in having something in our camp or on our person that
catches the eye of our fellow reenactors and perhaps makes them
just a little jealous
When we are done all we have created is only a visual image, a
hollow shell of a19th century person. We work and play in a modern
world except for those few hours we spend reenacting during the
year. It is extremely hard to escape our 20th century mindset
but as reenactors we have an obligation to the public to present
a true impression of 19th century life. We have spent our lives
learning to be a modern day person so how can we hope to develop
a 19th century persona as real as our "real" self?
What are the components of a "persona", if we are to
be comfortable with the person we portray? This person should
ideally be as much like modern day selves as possible. They should
be about the same age as you are. Even practice the same skill
you do for a living, i.e. doctor, lawyer, clergy etc. Know the
year you were born. Be proud of your age since not many lived
to late adulthood in the 19th century. If you are just starting
out, don't try to be or be related to a famous person as this
makes interpretation much easier and you do not need to know details
that the public might know. If your family is involved, use their
names and current ages. Being familiar with them will make remembering
as to whom is who much easier than having to remember made up
Know about yourself and your family. Where did you come from,
by what method of transportation did you travel here, why are
you here and what is your station in life. What is your attitude
toward the Mexican government? Depending on the year you are portraying,
are you for independence or are you in favor of staying with Mexico?
Once you have decided on your persona,
busy yourself with camp chores. By opening a little of yourself
and sharing what you are good at will bring many rewards. Demonstrating
a skill will provide an opportunity to impress some one watching
and there by influence them in a positive way. Much is to be said
for a re-enactor who presents the truest image, has the most correct
period-look gear, and presents the most authentic aura. When a
person's clothing and camp gear is used over and over again, it
takes on an authentic image. As your clothes become stained, torn
and tattered, your appearance will become more believable to the
public. These were hard times in Texas and pristine appearance
will not convey the overall believability of you persona. Read
original documents, read interpretations, read anything available
you can find and then try to bring all of these things together
to create a realistic persona. Do not just read your sources once,
but instead read them a second and even a third time. As you do
this you be able to gleam new ideas and improve on ones self.
Thoughtful preparation of your clothes as well as your mind will
make you ready to answer the questions presented.
Creating a Character
Is That Gun
What's in the Bag?
You need an Edge
up the Night
Keeping an Eye
on the Sky
What type of Primitive
Shelter is best for you?
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