March 9, 2010 - 1 Comment

by Jim Barnes

Our correspondent, Nick Korolev, recently attended an interesting workshop in Winchester, Virginia, and files this report:

For those who wish to know more about it, living history impressionists belong to the branch of historical reenactment that goes beyond the recreation of famous battles or setting up a historically accurate camp. These living historians brings to life the famous personalities who made history and allow the public to talk to historical personalities as if they had just traveled back in time to meet them. One has to not only study the times and battles, but read biographies and other first hand accounts in order to create as accurate as possible first person impression of the chosen personality. A little acting ability is always handy. Many experienced reenactors often branch of in this direction for a different challenge and it is ideal for historians and history buffs who can not take the rigors of combat reenacting.

With the coming 150th anniversary of the Civil War about to begin next year, my friend Richard Byrd and I, spent Fri evening and all of Sat with members of the Federal Generals Corps for the Eagles Living History Workshop honing our skills. The workshop was for members of both the Federal Generals Corps and Lee’s Lieutenants, two of the top Civil War living history groups that make events through the four state region. Both units have generals who commanded on both sides, the presidents, doctors who present surgical demonstrations of battlefield medicine and other famous personalities like, Belle Boyd, the Confederate spy; Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross and Matthew Brady, photographer. Besides Civil War events many of the members also take part in school and civic programs centered around Civil War history education. I must state at this point at no time do our people take command at reenactments, though they sometimes appear mounted on the field to add a touch of realism at the invitation of the commanders of the reenactments.

Guest speakers at the workshop event included Russ Richards of Historical Entertainment, a production company that provides historical impressionists from all eras for movie companies filming both documentaries and feature films; Judi Flowers, a professional wardrobe director who presented a program on “Dressing the Part”; film and television director Caryn Nowland who talked on the actors role behind and in front of the camera; and actor Patrick Gorman, who portrayed Confederate General John B. Hood in the films GETTYSBURG and GODS AND GENERALS who provided acting coaching and a discussion on character development. We had a great time getting together with friends who braved the storm that really hit points north hard. All the presenters were wonderful to work with being down to earth people easy to talk to. Some filming of short scenarios was done and critiqued. With about fifty in attendance in uniform not to mention at least ten ladies in period dress, they ran out of time, so Rick and I did not do anything though we came up with a short scenario that would have worked. What we learned can be applied to other eras for those who do or wish to do first person impressions. I certainly will be applying it to another era once my house sells and I get settled in my new location.

There are plans in the works to hold another living history workshop February of 2011 , stretch it to a full weekend and open it to non-members for a small fee and many of our presenters plan on returning.

Nick Korolev

Comments (1)

Hugh Fraser Clayton

May 10th, 2010 at 7:01 pm    

Can Mr. Korolev get in contact with me? I need to ask him about an event in the Winchester / Hagerstown / Cumberland area.

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