No booth, make do

Anything relevant

No booth, make do

Postby Chris Richard » 27 May 2018, 23:53

The historical fort in my hometown had a Revolutionary War encampment this weekend. I'm one of the founders of the group that has done this for the last 15 or so years.

I had no booth, so I brought Punch and Judy and did tabletop demonstrations to show the children what entertainment was like before movies, TV, and YouTube. Just a simple tug-o-war between Punch and the Croc with a string of sausages gets as many laughs as any cartoon. (I know the Croc is not period correct, but even Punch in the colonies at this time is hard to pin down.)

Image

Image

We also did this last night:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zubHm8UP0T4&sns=fb
My voice can be heard on the microphone talking about the echo across the harbor when we fire #4. Unfortunately, phone videos do not pick up the thunderous roar.
Chris Richard,
Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA
User avatar
Chris Richard
Beefy
Beefy
 
Posts: 87
Joined: 21 Oct 2010, 01:36
Location: Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA

Re: No booth, make do

Postby Chris » 29 May 2018, 13:28

I wouldn't worry about the crocodile not being period correct, what about Punch & Judy? Judy would have been Joan and if Punch & Judy were seen in the Revolutionary period they would, almost certainly, have been string puppets, minor characters in a marionette play. It is uncertain when Punch became a glove puppet, especially in America, but it was only then that Punch & Judy developed their own story and became the Punch show as we know it. Paul McPharlin suggests around 1800.
Of course the crocodile has no proven origin. A popular notion is that it came from the popularity of that character in J.M.Barrie's Peter Pan but this cannot be, since there are well documented references to the crocodile in the Punch show pre-dating Peter Pan.
The two most likely theories are that the Croc developed from the Dragon which was a frequent character in the early English Mummers' Plays, or that the croc came from France, from the Polichinelle show or from the Theatre of George Sand (this latter was Michael Byrom's favourite theory).
I rather suspect that, as in most historical questions, there is no one correct answer. Things usually develop over time under various influences.
However although it may be amusing for us to speculate, for the children who were delighting in your Punch-Croc battle of the sausages it matters not a damn about origin nor historical accuracy. The flavour is all that matters, not the detail of the ingredients.

Image
Theatre of George Sand - alas no croc in sight.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3282
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Re: No booth, make do

Postby Chris Richard » 30 May 2018, 01:19

In a general way I know most of what we know and don't know about Punch during the 1770s. Which, particularly in America, is not a too much.

Although, the reenacting group I belong to and I strive for historical accuracy, there are fuzzy areas. Personally I doubt in Fairhaven we had Punch of any sort during the American Revolution. However. we are one of the earliest settled areas in the country. My town was the home of one of the Mayflower passengers, John Cooke, who move here from Plymouth, Massachusetts, the same year Pepys saw the Italian puppet show in Covent Garden. We're located just 50 miles from Boston, an early colonial metropolis. There was certainly knowledge European forms of entertainment and no doubt there were traveling performers of different types.

Our Fort Phoenix was manned during the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the US Civil War. I would be on much firmer ground with a Punch glove puppet during the later two periods.

Ultimately, though, my personal goal is to instill a sense of history in a fun and entertaining way. So we give them the dry facts--Eleazer Hathaway and Benjamin Dillinghan supervised the fort's construction between 1775 and 1777, then it was destroyed by raiding Redcoats in September 1778--and we surround the facts with lighter fare.

And I've learned that in recent years children know what a Phoenix is thanks to Harry Potter.
Chris Richard,
Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA
User avatar
Chris Richard
Beefy
Beefy
 
Posts: 87
Joined: 21 Oct 2010, 01:36
Location: Fairhaven, Massachusetts, USA


Return to Punch Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests