Monday, October 17, 2011

The Miniactment - July, 2011

In honor of my new blog-look - a new post!  This is one I've been meaning to write for . . . months.  Since, July, actually.  In my defense, I recently finished a 12-week commitment to a play (acting & costuming - I'll see if I can get my hands on any pictures of my slap-a-dash creations) that allowed time for little more than driving 2-hours-a-day to Hollywood & back.

Over the past couple years, our reenacting troupe has grown and shifted in demographics - from mostly families to mostly teenagers.  With so many new recruits, the more "progressive" members were eager to put together a low-key, costume-optional, weekend troop-event to help the "young'uns" (and the "elders" - everybody could always use a brush up!) develop their impressions, learn more about the history of our regiment and grow more familiar with the specific area that they would have lived and fought within.  So, after kicking the idea around for a few weeks, I agreed to take on the bulk of planning for the 18th VA's First Annual Miniactment.

Near Casper's Wilderness Park where we held the event

I finished reading Beleaguered Winchester, put together a class on the 18th's hometown during wartime, and trekked down to Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano to talk to the rangers about holding our event there. Sami agreed to teach about historical sewing and help with food & set-up duties.  Cpl. Tim planned a singing workshop and a class on the military record of the 18th VA.  And after some gentle coaxing I convinced the indomitable Logan Creighton to speak on putting-together and maintaining a first-person impression in front of the public.

Of course, nothing ever goes exactly according to plan, so when none of the 18th's young troopers could show up, the weekend became more of an "Officer's Retreat." This turned into a blessing: giving the opportunity for our newly-appointed officers Lieutenant White & Sgt. Ridenour to plan out the year and brainstorm about the direction of the troop.

Logan's class was especially inspiring & interesting, and even gave the group an opportunity to try out their first-person skills on a passing group of curious campers.  We showed them our camp & tents, answered their questions, and brought out a jar & heavy cream to show them how butter is made.  It was really the perfect match-up! Of course, Sami & I (and the next night, Marissa & I) as event-coordinators made it an adventure all their own: proving ourselves in tent-setting-up skills, the fighting off of rampaging squirrels, and making fire without a guy around - sporting our battle-wounds under matching Charlie-Brown band-aids.  A smashing success, in impact, if not in numbers!

Our new Sergeant teaches us about the 18th VA

I guess you could call these the nosebleed seats ;-)

It's thanks to my bug-out bag I even had these . . .

A mess o'biscuits with sausage an' apple hash served fer dinner

Filling out character-worksheets by firelight

Me with my teaching materials

Samantha decided to switch eras on us halfway through

Our campsite offered the perfect big tree to hold classes under

I HAVE MADE FIRE!! (Without setting my hoopskirt or the surrounding brush aflame.  *Phew!*)