What do you think about “living history”?
When I was young I was very keen on history. I would have loved to have got a summer job living on a Victorian farm or in a mediaeval castle, or a wattle and daub cottage – in character – for the entertainment of tourists.
But now, it makes me feel uneasy. Why is that?
Last year we went up to the TOTALLY BRILLIANT (and FREE?!?) Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore – and there were people dressed in ancient clothes kidding on they lived there.
And somehow I felt fake.
Then last week I went to St Andrews Cathedral and we were invited to shadow some historical characters as they went about their business. A bit of processing, a bit of almsgiving, a bit of candle lighting (or candle-turning-on-with-a-switch)….
At the start I sat facing the other way, pretending it wasn’t happening, but eventually got drawn into the … past…. I suppose. The picture they created of the life of the cathedral reminded me of the bit in “Robin Hood Prince of Thieves” when Robin goes into the church in disguise to see Marion. All busyness and poverty.
The actors did well – and worked really hard with a reticent bunch of onlookers. Very passionate.
But I think I’d rather have wandered around the ruins looking vacant.