COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — According to eyewitness accounts on and around Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg colonist reenactor Frederick Blacker has really been getting on the nerves of British patrolman reenactor Roger Smith.
Recently installed webcams throughout the living-history museum have captured Blacker heckling Smith on at least four occasions.
“He’s always taunting me with period-inappropriate remarks,” Smith told Peedmont reporters. “Stuff like ‘spoiler alert: we win’ and ‘the British are coming’ when it’s not even 1781 yet.”
Last March, the new president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Mitchell Reiss admitted that in order to survive, the organization’s programs will now be “accurate-ish.” In the current battle for historical representation, Blacker and Smith are on the front-lines.
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According to Blacker, he’s bringing history to life and keeping Williamsburg “relevant.”
“I’m an American rebel. If I’m not pushing the envelope now and then, who will? Smith lacks revolutionary spirit.”
Blacker also claims that some of his actions are retaliatory and he questions what the patrolman is doing there to begin with.
“Smith’s always telling me to ‘stop fannying about.’ Who does he think he is, the history police? First of all, he’s not my interpretive supervisor. Second, his patrol route doesn’t even make sense. We’re in a period of revolutionary upheaval — Smith should be in Yorktown!”
Smith worries that Blacker’s not fit to be a colonist interpreter. “It’s more than what he says, it’s how he acts too. Blacker’s dodgy in general. Sometimes he curtsies at me. Sometimes he asks me to clean his chamber pot. On Sunday he carried a disposable Starbucks coffee cup from Merchant’s Square to the Governor’s Palace. Kids saw him with that Venti.”
Erika Stewart, the Human Resources Manager for interpretation, hired Smith following the Foundation’s last Under the Redcoat, a special reenactment event during which British soldiers submit Williamsburg colonists to martial law. Smith is now stationed in rotating locations throughout the open-air museum to answer visitor questions without breaking character.
“He gets so flustered by Blacker in particular,” Stewart commented. “Sometimes our revolutionaries are so passionate, they try to take history into their own hands. ‘Accurate-ishness’ can be a slippery slope.”
As of presstime, Smith was seen shuddering while Blacker waved hello using the plastic spoon from his Baskin-Robbins Butterfinger Mix-In.
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The Peedmont is grateful to the staff, historians, and volunteers who help bring Colonial Williamsburg to life. To make a donation to support their work, check out their website here.