Author Topic: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed  (Read 4032 times)

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Offline shoshi

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Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« on: July 10, 2011, 12:53:19 AM »
My husband and I would like to create AUTHENTIC characters for Ren Faire based on our races, religion, etc. Here's the problem:
He's black
I'm white
We're both Jewish

What would be an appropriate costume, trade, status, etc. for him? He thinks he might have to be a Moor, but weren't the Moors Muslim? Would a mixed race marriage have been acceptable in that time period?

I'm not sure where I can go to research this, so any help you guys have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!

McGuinness

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2011, 08:13:39 AM »
What time period and country is your faire? You can try researching the Spanish Inquisition when most of the Jewish population was expelled from Spain and many went to Northern Africa and others areas. You wouldn't be from England if you were Jewish since anyone who wasn't of the monarch's faith was a heretic and was prosecuted during the time most faires use.

Offline shoshi

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2011, 11:21:32 AM »
Good advice, thank you. We're from Illinois, but we drive to the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin, which is set around 1574. I'll see what I can find out. Are there any books or websites you recommend for the research?
Thanks, again! 

McGuinness

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2011, 01:50:58 PM »
I've never done much research on the Inquisition myself beyond the basic stuff that would be common knowledge elsewhere (I've mainly been English and Swedish on my faire's cast). Wikipedia has a decently lengthy article, might help you get started.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

Offline Malcolm

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 12:37:36 AM »
You might want to check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Othello
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 04:42:20 AM »
Black people converted to Christianity and Judaism in the renaissance. Especially in southern Italy they intermarried with white people of both religions.
Read about Alessandro de Medici, yes, that family.
Other prominent Black people in the Renaissance
So I'm thinking wealthy traders, prossibly from Messina?
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Offline shoshi

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2011, 03:11:59 PM »
Thank you sooo much! Off to go research now.

I'm new to this forum... Do most people try to create characters similar to themselves? How to forum members feel about characters that are wizards or mages, etc. (My husband was a big D&D player back in the 70's). Are there purists who feel that's mixing genres and that characters should be based on reality?

Offline Once Debauched

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2011, 07:49:02 AM »
I think most members would agree it's what you feel suits you best.  If you want to create a character that reflects who you are, GREAT! But you can also try something polar opposite just for fun.  Just remember collecting garb can be expensive!  ;-)

If you look around the board you'll see fairies, wizards, kings, queens, merchants, pirates, wenches, peasants, knights, Scots, nobles and a whole slew of other characters. Some are historical and some aren't.  If you can dream it there's probably already someone on the board who's done it and I have yet to see anyone here say, "You just can't do THAT!"  Members may offer up suggestions to help enhance your character, but negativity is something you don't usually see around here.

I'm sure there are purist, but if that's not the direction you plan on going I'd not worry about it. Have fun and be sure to pick everyone's brain.  There's a lot of accumulated information floatin' around in here!
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Offline DonaCatalina

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 09:18:48 AM »
What she said ...LOL.
My husband and I gravitated towards Spanish nobility because the clothes are better suited to the Texas climate than most English Tudor stuff. A lot of people eventually let the weather dictate quite a bit of their persona and garb.

For example, you probably would not enjoy being the Faun in a fake fur suit at FlaRF in 90 degree heat. Once you've been to a few more faires, you'll see more that peaks your interest. Don't force yourself into a persona that you're not comfortable with, and most of all......remember to have fun!
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Offline shoshi

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2011, 06:23:54 PM »
 Thanks! We may end up going the fantasy route. Interracial Jewish couples don't seem to be very popular back in the Renaissance period.  ;)

Offline Lady Renee Buchanan

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2011, 05:58:05 AM »
Creating a character/persona is completely optional.  You can go in garb and just be yourself, if you'd like.  Or if you want a character, you can create one and a whole story line.

In 15 years of going to Bristol, no one has ever asked me about my "character."   We chose Lord & Lady Buchanan based on my husband's kilt, the Buchanan tartan.  As to a character, we don't have any besides the name.  We've never gone up to anyone, friends or strangers, and said, "Hi we are the Buchanans, we come from....., etc."  We are too busy having fun to try to remember anything about a character.

Again, that is our personal opinion.  If you want characters, go for it.  But don't worry about anybody asking you about it at Bristol.
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Offline BLAKDUKE

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2011, 07:12:16 AM »
Thanks! We may end up going the fantasy route. Interracial Jewish couples don't seem to be very popular back in the Renaissance period.  ;)

While what you say is historically accurate.  A wealthy merchant from Italy would put you in a select circle.  While not royalty, still it is something to play with.  So far, from all of the faires that I have been to, I have not seen one that would come up to anyone and say "your not historically accurate".  If someone did, my response would be "PROVE IT".  Case in point, at a faire my wife and did many years ago, we were adopted by a man whose character was a ninjaand he thought we needed a guard, he was right, we dubbed him "the Kings Shadow".  The faires garb nazi said that he was not historically accurate.  To which I promptly burst forward with a great belly laugh.  I said the ninjas were on this earth long before London was a dust spot on the road(?).  Don't know if any of them ever made it to England, but it was not impossible.  We kept him.  So don't be afraid to try new things.  Just because there is no documented evidence of something does not mean it did NOT happen.  Remember the reason that the faires of the time existed, it was for trade and commerce to allow merchants to bring goods into England that they did not have I.E. spices, wine, steel to trade for English goods mainly wool.  So from that standpoint wealthy merchant looking for an area to set up in to bring his wares would be more than appropriate.  Another avenue would be a Moorish Caliph, with that you would then be considered a Circassian(look up the term in wikipedia, it gives a good historical origin).

Good Luck

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McGuinness

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2011, 12:16:32 PM »
I've also found that "ignoring" race is common and accepted. We have a black yeoman on cast this year, our Sir Henry Lee (a real historical Englishman with existing portraits) was also played by a black man. Sure, people notice, but aside from restricted everyone of an ethnic background into a few select types of roles, it is generally accepted in my experience. Heck, even I break out of it by playing a Nordic princess when I am by no means blonde-haired and blue-eyed!

Offline shoshi

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Re: Difficulty Creating Authentic Characters - Advice Needed
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2011, 10:43:55 AM »
Thanks, everyone! You've all been a big help!

 

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