Tuesday, September 6

5 Easy Ways Reeanactors Can Improve Their Game

The reenacting season is under way, and it got me to thinking, 'How can I improve my impression'? Here are some of the easiest ways I can think of to do so with very little effort or expense. Please keep in mind that the suggestions are coming from a fellow who's regular time period ranges from 1750-1820, so these may not apply to YOUR particular time period...

This goes double for soldiers and sailors who regularly worked and fought in the mud, tar, gunk and grease of the world of old. Months on end on campaign would really take its toll on your uniform, even if there were dedicated people in the unit who did nothing but laundry. And have you ever seen a proper period laundry demonstration? The beating that the garments got was brutal.

Next time you're at an event and get a little dirt on your elbows or knees, let it stay.

Facial hair was either 'in' or 'out' depending on what time period you reenact. If you're doing a time period where facial hair wasn't the thing, shave it off... conversely if you're doing a time period where beards were the thing, grow it out.

Facial hair, or the lack thereof can go a long way toward improving the authenticity of your period appearance. Razors are easy to lay hands on... and facial hair isn't all that difficult to grow back between events.

Okay so I get that not every event is geared for this sort of interpretation, and honestly, not every guest or visitor to a historic site is going to be up for this either. But if they ARE, you should give it a try. It's a lot of fun and a great way to get outside yourself for a little while and come just a smidge closer to the period by portraying someone from the era.

I'm liable to make a few enemies with this one, but haversacks weren't generally worn by civilians to carry your stuff around in (like a modern purse or messenger bag). Haversacks were primarily used by soldiers.

Need something to carry your stuff in? Make a simple market wallet. Baskets are also good.

The best way to improve your reenactor game? Reading. Read everything that interests you about the time period you portray. It will serve to teach you new aspects about the period you enjoy, or even refresh your memory about things you read long ago that you'd forgotten.

Don't 'plateau' or get stagnant, don't be rigid in your interpretation, always be learning and working toward new and interesting things... and remember to always be as accurate as you can be. You might be the spark that ignites an interest in history for the next generation of historians, museum professionals or reenactors!

Do you have any easy suggestions for reeanactors to improve their impressions? Please feel free to share them in the COMMENTS section, we'd love to hear your ideas!
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Thanks for reading!

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  1. While I play a soldier, I have a market wallet (made myself from cotton ticking) which I keep in my haversack (aka a bread-bag) for use when out shopping at events. My bread bag isn't the biggest and while i can keep my mobile phone, car keys, purse &c out of sight in it, it's not big enough to hide books or other larger items.

  2. Being a territorial mounted militiaman, my 1812 clothing and gear is usually muddy and smelly, but my most "proud" filthy moment came at a Single Action Shooting Society event 10-odd years ago. After riding in a mounted shoot all day, I put on clean clothes and entered a costume contest that evening as a "Working Cowboy." I won, a judge told me later, due to the authentic horse $#!^ on my boots!

  3. I have a question - and I think it may possibly open up a can of worms over this issue, so if that is the case I do apologise.

    I am female and play a 'breeches role' in that I prefer to play a soldier rather than a wife/sweetheart/other variety of camp follower. I know that this option can be pretty unpopular, so I want to do the best I can in 'being' male while at events. (After all, it's not my fault I'm female and prefer the more masculine side of events - who wouldn't want to fire a musket, after all?)

    Does anyone have any tips for me and for those like me who prefer to play breeches parts, in how to raise the game be more convincing?

    1. Sharpie- are we friends on Facebook? I would love to discuss this with you further...

      -Albert Roberts