BELFAST, Maine — Local teen Damion Saucier’s enthusiasm for role-playing has won him accolades, even across the border.
Last summer, the 18-year-old Saucier headed north with a group from the Belfast Game Loft to take part in the Pauper Auction at Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, New Brunswick.
The living history event is a re-enactment of a controversial event that was held in 1888 during which destitute people were auctioned to those who would care for them using the least amount of taxpayers’ money.
Saucier, who was given the role of printer’s assistant, or “devil,” was not a pauper, but nonetheless made a big impression on event organizers. He used his newly learned type-setting skills to try to generate public sympathy for him and others in the same boat.
“Forget the paupers,” read a flier that he placed around the village. “Help the oppressed printers’ devil.”
Soon other role-players in the historical settlement were taking notice: Who was this bold printer’s devil, anyway?
At first Saucier and others from the Game Loft, a community-based organization of Spurwink Services, were concerned that his initiative might have crossed the line.
“We thought people might be upset,” said Game Loft co-founder Patricia Estabrook.
But that wasn’t the case.
Instead, he was invited to come back this year by special request of the settlement authorities. Damion and 11 other adults and teens from the after-school and summer program will head back to Kings Landing this weekend, where once again they will jump into the life of 130 years ago.
“It went really well. They did a great job,” Kings Landing artistic director Michelle Daigle said last week of the Game Loft participants.
“He did make an impression,” she said.
The teen, who said that he is “so excited” to go back, took some time last week to discuss why he likes role playing. The Game Loft has a special historical curriculum that incorporates living history, and Damion said he thinks he has a knack for really getting into his characters.
“I feel like it’s a nicer way to remember things,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun than just textbook reading or being lectured.”
Many teens feel that way, Estabrook said, adding that the Game Loft serves more than 230 youth members during the year. And hitting the road to a place such as Kings Landing is special.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for kids who have almost never left the state,” she said. “And who will show off their skills in an international context.”