Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Freedom Trail Players

"Captain of the Guards"

An article in the Boston Globe regarding local tourist sights has created a small firestorm in the Boston areas Revolutionary War re-enacting community. The article concerns the Freedom Trail Players, a company that for the past few years has specialized in giving walking tours of Boston's famous Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail Players tour guides are noteworthy because the guides wear 18th century clothing and portray Colonial and Revolutionary War figures from the past.

Recently the company has added a small contingent of actors portraying soldiers of the British 10th Regiment of Foot, which was part of the garrison occupying the port of Boston from 1774-1776. Unfortunately, their portrayal of British soldiers belonging to an actual Regiment is to put it mildly, abysmal and is demeaning to the history of that Regiment, the British Army and the important role that Boston played in America's early history.

As a Revolutionary War re-enactor myself, I can easily spot the many errors in the drill, the uniforms and the general appearance of the actors as shown in the short video attached to the article. In fact the actors appear more suited to a "Pirates of the Caribbean" exhibit at Disneyworld than as actual British soldiers of the early Revolutionary War period.

What is really unfortunate in this, is that the tourists coming to Boston who happen to see their staged performances may mistake what they see as a real portrayal of British soldiers from that time period. For many years Revolutionary War re-enactors in this area have worked hard to create historically accurate portrayals of the British soldiers who served in the Boston garrison and fought valiantly at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and at Bunker Hill. "Street theater" of this caliber truly sets back that effort.

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