Fort Griffin Fandangle: Three Perspectives on Performing History on the Texas Plains
Beck, Kathryn Martin
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The 2013 75th Anniversary Fort Griffin Fandangle, an outdoor historical performance depicting late 19th century Texas, tells of the progression of the Fort Griffin area from prairie land to military fort to a town called The Flat. Although not completely historically accurate nor culturally inclusive, the author, directors, and local participants skillfully depict early Texas history through the Fandangle. The Fandangle is further shaped by social and cultural American and Texas narratives including Southern and Western narratives. The performance is placed within current outdoor historical performance, public history, and secondary education disciplines. This came about through a reissued 1966 Outdoor Theatre survey administered to current Outdoor Theatre members, through a reissued 1998 Rosenzweig and Thelen public history survey administered to Fandangle participants, and through a discussion on the potential use of the performance within secondary education. It is proposed that the Fandangle has a place within academic studies—it provides insight into created myths and memory, collective Texas history, ways to study and learn history, and community identity and cohesiveness, all while preserving a perceived cultural identity of the community.