Renaissance troupe comes to Leesville

The actors on stage. In the foreground, in a brown outfit, is the man portraying Sir Walter Raleigh, who is also a Leesville dad. (Photo Courtesy of William Sease)

On Friday, April 29, a historical reenactment troupe (site) came to Leesville and held a series of interactive presentations, each lasting a bit over an hour long, with students from various classes in attendance

In an act that was part educational and part entertainment, the troupe covered topics such as Renaissance dress, social classes, food and drink, entertainment, chivalry, schooling and dancing.

The auditorium was about one third full when the show began. It started with the actors assembling in a row. Each wore various styles of Renaissance-era dress (think Men in Tights). The men had large hats and puffy shirts. The women wore corsets and very modest dresses.

The actor furthest to the left introduced himself as Sir Walter Raleigh and began the first half of the presentation, which was a rather educational lecture about the culture of the Renaissance era. The actors pointed out the particular aspects of the way they were dressed, explaining the purpose of the absurd clothes they were wearing. Following that, they discussed what Renaissance people ate, explaining the popularity of ale and peasant food such as bread. Finally, they explained the world of entertainment, most of which were plays, and how the rich and poor experienced the Renaissance period in very different ways.

Thirty minutes in, the actors took audience questions, which led to a discussion of the (fake) weapons the actors had brought on stage and their real use in the Renaissance era. The actors laughed off an audience chant to start sword fighting.

Following this, the actors called students up to the stage to help them demonstrate Renaissance dance and basic chivalry. Music played on a stereo system off stage as the students demonstrated their bravery by learning Renaissance dances in front of an auditorium full of people.

“It was pretty funny, and also provided a good perspective on each of the classes of the time period,” said William Penci, freshman.

The group was formed in 2002 in Asheville, NC, and does shows at various historic sites and schools up and down the east coast. The cast included both one Leesville dad and one husband of a Leesville faculty member.


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