Page 1 of 1

Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:37 pm
by Mark Griffin
I've already worked in Jordan on a few projects so they asked me back to run some tests on how we might do some live interpretation at Kerak Castle, the scene of major events in 1183. Jordan and Arab nations in general have little if any experience in western style interpretation/re-enactment in its many and varied guises so it was all a bit of a culture shock to them, especially considering how contentious the events of the period are. Certainly saying to local kids 'hi, I'm Reynaud de Chatillon', was interesting.....

As the budget was very low and time ridiculoulsy tight I put together a few characters that related to the stories of the wedding of Humphrey of Toron and Isabella plus his mother, a crusader knight and an Islamic warrior to give them a feel of what was achievable. Baggage allowances dictated the use of aluminium mail which I usually avoid and the helmets were cast-offs from Kingdom of Heaven and Robin Hood but the results were way above what you'd usually get in such situations. There was a bit of a promenade performance around the amazing site with people in 1st person light plus some fighting and audience interaction. There was a heck of a lot of this :sweat: :sweat: :sweat: :sweat: :sweat: :sweat:

The good news is the test runs and ideas I played around with were a big success and there will be a return, with a few extra people hopefully in April next year with an aim to building up a regular show for their peak holiday periods using trained locals and a very few western contributers. There is scope to have a small encampment plus other bits and bobs there, possibly the odd siege engine maybe so fingers crossed. I also investigated a couple of derelict crusade period houses near the castle which they might want to do up as living history venues so you never know what opportunities there will be in Kerak.

As i was leaving a tourism manager was also talking about a Lawrence show in Aqaba...yikes!

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 12:38 pm
by Mark Griffin
and in this pic the building in the background on the left is the very handy hotel. Nice to be able to get into and out of kit less than a minute from site!

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:20 pm
by Stuart Quayle
The characters work well. Nicely done! 8-)

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:34 am
by Dingo8MyBaby
Nice

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:15 pm
by Grymm
No Belgians were harmed....this time :devil:

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:11 pm
by Graham Ashford
The pictures look really good, it would be interesting to hear what the locals thought of you, I heard of a Roman group having stones thrown at them once in Scotland, I should imagine that interpreting Crusaders there could be interesting from time to time?

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:19 pm
by nutmeg_bec
Just wish I could have wangled the week off work to come with you! From what I've heard of middle eastern reenactments (read Saudi), the locals think we're mad/weird/hilarious (odd visions of Griff getting his shins kicked by the kids). Look forward to more photos!

Well then, April eh? How much were the flights...? :*

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:32 pm
by gregory23b
"No Belgians were harmed....this time "


You baaaad man.

;-)

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:03 am
by Mark Griffin
well 3 of us got flights for just over $1400 which was pretty good. I use a US broker for business travel, they seem to be able to get better deals. We also know a few tricks here and there so if I made a booking through my friends harvard Uni travel account it might have saved a few $'s and ridiculously as we were a bit of a cultural exchange friendly type trip we nearly qualified for the 'missionary' discounts with BA.

Jordan is pretty toleratant and very western friendly. Unlike the Saudi's (where I wouldn't dream of doing historical interpretation for tourists, its way outside their comfort zone although I do corporate shows in western hotels and compounds etc) ) they have no oil so utterly depend on tourism for funds hence they bend over backwards a bit to accommodate you. Kerak has a reputation for being the most traddtional area and there is friction between the town and the castle which is seen as not bringing anything to the town, just a few businessmen who hold the franchises for facilities in the immediate facinity. So I made damn sure we shopped and ate in the town. I stopped at going out in kit but when i return in April we have two schools booked in and we are going to clean and repair their statue of Saladin (he's sans scimitatr).

Spreading a little luuuve all round.

It helps that I scripted it so Reynauld gets his ass whipped by one of Saladin's guys and sent packing like a pantomime villain.

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 9:32 pm
by Treaty Money
That sounds incredible...

I'd love to do some living history work in Jordan....

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:02 am
by Medicus Matt
Mark Griffin wrote: As i was leaving a tourism manager was also talking about a Lawrence show in Aqaba...yikes!
Not surprised. My other half has been working on Neil Faulkener's "Lawrence/Great Arab Revolt project" for the last 5 years, with another 5 to go.
They're working their way up the Hijaz railway, excavating Turkish and British/Arab positions and advancing on Aqaba. The Jordanian authorities are becoming increasingly interested in promoting this (along with the medieval and Roman) aspects of their history.

Which is why one of our spare bedrooms is full of sandy fragments of Ottoman uniforms and spent cartidge casings.

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:14 pm
by Treaty Money
I'd love to come and see those uniform fragments Matt!

Maybe a visit to Medicus Towers is in order!!

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:10 am
by Mark Griffin
Yep, I had a very positive meeting with the various tourism people about them wanting an all dancing all singing lawrence revue at Aqaba. Until i pointed out it might ever so slightly annoy the turkish fellows....

Re: Kerak Castle Oct 2011

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:54 am
by Medicus Matt
Mark Griffin wrote:Yep, I had a very positive meeting with the various tourism people about them wanting an all dancing all singing lawrence revue at Aqaba. Until i pointed out it might ever so slightly annoy the turkish fellows....

Surely you could stage a side review just for them; "Lawrence and the Dance of the Seven hours of brutalisation?" perhaps?