Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Truly Revolutionary Idea

When I first heard the term "Rev City" I thought the person was saying "Reb City"--but of course, that's another time period all together. This afternoon CW had its employee picnic, so for lunch we all trundled over to Christina Campbell's Tavern and had a delicious boxed lunch of cold chicken, chips, apple, cookie and soda. Then afterward we were instructed to visit the historic area, to "tourist it up," if you will, and also to make observations about the people working there.

The weather was sunny and not too hot. I hung out with a couple of women who have worked at CW for years, so they knew everyone. We walked into the shoemaker's just as he was finishing up his spiel about his trade, and then as the tourists left, got to hear all the gossip about the various people working there. I learned that the shoes that are made in the shomaker's are actually used by CW--after they're produced they get sent over to accessories and handed out to the interpreters. We also wandered through the weaver's shop. Since I was with three women who weave (as in, they buy a pile of wool, card it, spin it, dye it, and THEN weave it) we spent quite a bit of time chatting with the woman who was demonstrating. She was incredibly patient with my endless questions, even explaining the difference between warp and weft. Which, in hindsight, probably not a good thing to admit I don't know in front of my coworkers---but oh well! The best part about walking around with other coworkers was making notes about the costumes that people are wearing. Also asides from my supervisor--"You know Mr. So and So? Our boss's boss' boss? Well, he lives in that house there. Oh, and Thomas Jefferson lives here. Oh--and here comes Patrick Henry...Hello, Bob."

Now, some of you know me, and you know I have a penchant for history, also drawing attention to myself. I was wearing my "Republicans for Voldemort" t-shirt, mostly because I like the attention it draws, but also because it's a good way to start conversations. And I figured, since I was finally going to get to meet some CW employees outside the costume center, I'd need an icebreaker. Every afternoon CW closes off part of its street for Revolutionary City, which is a series of open-air vignettes about the Revolutionary War period. I love these little shows, because the people will continue to stay in character, even after their mikes are turned off. Yes, they're miked, but it's okay, because the mikes are of the period. The afternoon started with a reading of the Declaration of Independence by various members of the company. Then we witnessed a British officer, Henry Hamilton, complaining to the local officials about his treatment in jail. That show was particularly fine, except all the costume people were totally distracted by the fact that, while General Hamilton's breeches, shirt and weskit were disheveled, his red coat was brand new and in perfect condition!

Finally, we were witness to General Benedict Arnold's taking over of Williamsburg. Although a fearful citizen came running through the town, shouting about the "twelve hundred British regulars descending upon us!" by the time they got to the Capitol, there were only four. I guess the rest got tired. General Arnold, however, looked splendid in his red coat. He was haranguing the Americans for running away and leaving Richmond without a fight "--even your Governor Jefferson ran away rather than stand before the army of the King!" prompting me to hiss "Jefferson was a lover, not a fighter! Come on, every one knows that!" and offer to throw my applecore at Arnold. No one took me up on it.

It was a very enjoyable afternoon. I STILL haven't seen everything CW has to offer, but I enjoyed playing tourist and seeing what our guests are seeing. And it was so nice to spend a day outdoors instead of watching it through the window. I even got a souvenier--there was a bunch of rubbish on the Palace Green, so I tromped over to pick it up, mindful of the exhortation to "take ownership of Foundation Properties." I discovered, amid the garbage, someone had left behind their souvenier: a little ball of all natural lemon soap, which will go nicely in my bathroom. Cheers.

And the best news of all--when I got back to the costume center, I discovered my machine has been fixed. So I'll no longer be sitting in a corner, but back with other people Yay.

1 comment:

Laura said...

wouldn't a mic from this period be shouting? I don't know. I have to write you a long message today because the one I wrote you yesterday got erased. :(