Hal truly appreciates the efforts that are put into hosting an event. This set of instructions and guidelines is intended for events staged in theatrical venues and auditoriums. Should your organization be hosting in a smaller setting, these instructions can be greatly modified. These instructions are designed to serve as general guidance, not rigid, unbending demands. Should a hosting organization find it impractical to provide a particular element, a readily acceptable and more practical alternative is often available. Hosting organizations are encouraged to communicate any questions or difficulties they are experiencing as far in advance of the event as possible.
General Performance Guidelines
The performance will take the form of an informal presentation and discussion with Mr. Bidlack in the role of Alexander Hamilton.
The performance will consist of three distinct portions, each quite important to the process of historical recreation, and for the enjoyment of the audience. Following a brief introduction by the moderator (please see our sample introductions for acceptable models), Mr. Hamilton will give opening remarks. He will generally speak for 15-20 minutes. Next, the audience questions of Mr. Hamilton via the format approved in advance for that event. Following the last question, Mr. Hamilton will offer final comments in character. Lastly, he will remove his wig, signifying the end of the “in character” portion of the evening, and will offer brief comments as a scholar on what has occurred. If time permits, a few brief questions are asked of Mr. Bidlack as himself. Total event times vary by the desires of you the host. Generally, the performance runs between 1½ to 1¾ hours.
Audience questions are the core and the heart of the event. All questions should be verbally asked directly to Mr. Hamilton, rather than via note cards if at all possible.
Part of the enchantment of first person historical recreation is the magic of the audience mentally transporting themselves back in time. In order to maintain this mindset, the stage should be set to enhance, rather than detract from this atmosphere.
- A period chair
o This need not, indeed should not, be an actual antique. Rather, it should be of a style consistent with the 18th Century. Simply put, the chair should not be of a style that seems out of place.
- A matching period chair for the Moderator should be placed by the side of the stage.
- A matching podium
o Similarly, the podium should not appear “modern” if possible.
- A glasses of water, and a pitcher of water
o The glass and pitcher should be either “crystal-like” or metallic (e.g., tin cups). Under no circumstances should Styrofoam or water bottles appear on stage.
- The background/backdrop should be appropriate to the event. Acceptable examples include black theatrical drapery, old-style bookcases with books (not full of paperbacks, magazines, or other modern items), or other historically fitting settings.
- The “stage area” should, if possible, be higher than the audience. Raised daises are strongly preferred in non-theater venues.
- Barring extraordinary circumstances, hand-held microphones should never be used.
- Professional amplification system. We wish to avoid small portable noticeable sound systems.
- A quality wireless lapel microphone with fresh batteries for Mr. Bidlack. If possible, an additional backup microphone should be available
- One quality wireless microphone for the moderator’s use.
- One or more microphones should be available for audience questions. These may either be on stands, or in the hands of “runners” who will deliver the microphone to an audience member for a question.
- If possible, period music should be played while the audience is entering.
- For theater venues, please leave the house lights up roughly half way during the introductory remarks by Mr. Hamilton. As the question period begins, the house lights should be brought up to full. Because audience participation and reaction is central to the event, the performers must be able to see the audience.
- The performance area should be the most brightly lit section of the auditorium. Lighting should originate from in front of and above the stage area, not directly overhead. If possible, professional theater lighting is desired.
- One “dressing room” is needed. This room should have the following items available:
o Mirrors (full length if possible)
o Ready access to rest rooms
o Water and glasses
- It will generally take between 20-30 minutes for Mr. Bidlack to prepare for the performance. He should not be disturbed during this time if at all possible.
- Once Mr. Bidlack has changed into his costumes, he assumes the persona of Mr. Hamilton. He should be referred to as Mr. Hamilton. As is part of the tradition of first person historical recreation, he will remove his wig at the end of the “in-character” portion, when he again assumes his normal persona. He is quite happy to meet with anyone you wish following the event as himself.
- The moderator should introduce Mr. Hamilton while he is off stage. When the moderator asks the audience to welcome him to the stage, he will enter, preferably from the “wings.” Mr. Hamilton should remain unseen by the audience until introduced, if possible.
- Mr. Bidlack will generally arrive roughly one hour before the event and is very grateful for an “escort” to meet him. The escort will instruct him where to go, and will assist them in preparation for the event.
- Approximately 45 minutes before the event, Mr. Bidlack will inspect the sound and lighting systems. As adjustments may be needed, the sound and lighting technicians should be present. The house should not be open until this check is complete
- Approximately 40 minutes before the event, Mr. Bidlack will meet with the person doing the introduction for approximately 10 minutes
- Approximately 30 minutes before the event, he will proceed to the dressing room. During this time, please do not disturb.
- Also 30 minutes before the event, at the host’s discretion, the house should be opened with background music playing.
- Ten to fifteen minutes before the event, Mr. Hamilton appear for wiring of microphones, or last minute details
- The moderator should begin the introduction and we’re off!