Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Thoughts on Renaissance festivals

The redoubtable Amy referenced my post in the Renaissance Festival and that sparked some discussion at her blog. That in addition to the comments on my previous post have inspired me to respond a bit more fully on the topic.

One of Amy's commenters suggested that the Church should do something along the lines of a Renaissance festival and I think that would be an excellent idea. Most every festival you'll find today is run more as a muney-making and entertainment venture than as something that is meant to actually educate. That's the most important thing to keep in mind. This is not to say that festivals that focus on historical authenticity would not be money-makers, but as most of them stand today, 'RenFests' exist to for a specific niche of society and appeal to the larger population with pseudo-authentic crafts and shows.

Let's say a local diocese was to take up the challenge. What would it need, what would it want?

1. Education through entertainment. Finding episodes during the Renaissance and associated periods that illuustrate the Church's role in a positive way and presenting them.

2. Catechism. How could the Church present its teachings in the format of such a festival? Through plays? Though 'living history demonstrations'? What would be most effective?

3. Recreation. Recreating an authentic atmosphere would be absolutely necessary. 'Living history demonstrations' would serve here as well as the actors would do more than simply stand up on a stage and act. Others would actually live out village or town life, etc.

What would be needed to pull all this together? Funding of course would be at the top of the list. Experts from history departments would be there as well. Actors would act, etc. There would be the requisite craftspeople selling their stuff (though no devil's horns!). All this would definitely require someone with a clear vision and excellent fundraising skills. Would it be a success? I can't say. But I do think that if everything came together, such a venture would be an excellent tool for educating not only Catholics but the larger population as well.

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