I work for the street cast of a local Renaissance festival. And many of us like to keep logs of things we learned over the weekends as they go by, called a W(hat) I L(earned). I’ll often add anecdotes of fun stories or things I’d like to remember when looking back later at the end of mine.
I missed writing one last weekend because I prioritized getting some sleep this last week over basically the entire rest of my life. It left quite a few things in the dust in unpleasant ways, but since I’m still a little tired even after spending almost all my free time asleep last week, that says something about how much I needed it.
- I don’t like doing only Sundays. I feel like I’m missing out, and a little out of the loop. People assume I’ve heard things that happen on Saturdays when I haven’t.
1a. I’m super grateful to have friends who remember that I’m not there and when reminded fill me in on important things.
1b. I still want to hear all of the stories.
- My energy fails pretty easily for several reasons:
2a. My disappointment with my current situation gets dinged pretty often and takes some wind out of my sails.
2b. All my emotional energy is being taken up by my real life issues, so any additional emotional energy that isn’t my character’s drains me quick.
2c. Issues with Faith.
2d. The weekend feels STUPID fast with only one day in it.
- On the subject of 2c, I’m not feeling my character much anymore.
3a. It’s a little frightening when all your own character bits bore yourself.
3b. I’m worried about the future because I don’t think I’ll be approved for the characters I want to play, and I don’t think I’d be happy staying where I am. If I’m right and my ideas are turned down, I don’t know what I’ll do next season.
3c. Yes, this is a concern coming up right now because a lot of my brain is consumed by how much I’m floundering with my character, so I’d really like to have a solid backup plan for next year so I can feel better about the future, even if this season isn’t going as well as I’d like.
- That being said, it’s not a bad feeling at all to help other peoples’ bits succeed.
4a. All my favorite stories lately center around other characters’ bits, and while that’s troubling for personal reasons, that doesn’t make the stories any less fantastic, or me any less happy to have been a part of them.
- Once, just once, I’d like someone to notice that my sweet, upright, concerned with rules and prettily dressed girl has a rosary MADE OUT OF SKULLS and ask her about it. Just once.
5a. I’m trying really hard to get to tell that story, but when I get to, it feels very forced like it’s super obvious that I’m an actor dying to tell an interesting story about my character. This makes me feel icky about it instead of happy.
- While I totally believe all the authoritative voices who say that the shoot-the-shit interactions are important, too, I don’t feel like I’ve done a good job unless I have given the patron a story to tell.
6a. I don’t feel like “some weird chick dressed in green talked to me, and it was cool” is a legit story.
6b. This isn’t a dig on patron conversations. This is a dig on conversations about nothing much at all.
- I’m aware of the reasons why and how reasonable it is, but it doesn’t make it feel any better to feel more on the edges of SAPA due to my absence.
7a. This will get better. I know the reasons why, I know it will be fixed with time. It doesn’t help right now.
7b. It makes it hard and awkward to get walkies partners.
7c. It will thus surprise me how very many people make it a point to go out of their way and give me a hug because I’m having a hard time. I didn’t think that many people noticed.
- Faith’s growth into a more balanced person with a view of the greyer aspects of the world is actually making her less interesting to me.
8a. To clarify: people who know grey exists aren’t boring. But I built this character around her black and white view of the world, and with her losing it, I find myself lost.
8b. I only just realized that 8a is the root of my problems with her.
- One bad joke that makes people groan will help keep my energy up and make me cackle ALL. DAY.
9a. I regret nothing. And I apologize for nothing.
9b. Even better that it came from a patron, but it would’ve been better if the bit the patron gave it in had been appropriate. Instead, he was clearly trying to shock two women with his bawdiness, and we got out of there, but wow if I didn’t get a lot of mileage out of that patron’s joke.
9c. Because it happened on the same day as Faith joining Foul Time, she’ll make it a day-long mission to find Seahawks and tell it to them.
9d. It’s more disappointing to Faith than she’ll admit that Captain Fairfield wasn’t impressed.
9e. Breaking Charles Brandon with a dirty joke is AMAZING.
- I’m comfortable with any patron doing anything they find amusing near me so long as other cast is in earshot.
10a. That’s because I know the second I add “in sooth” to screaming “help me,” I’ll have any number of people I trust at my side willing to help me.
10b. Omitting those magic words means it’s taken completely as the bit that it was, and I’m really glad no one came to try and “rescue” me when I was making a point to a patron clearly doing a bit with me.
10c. He had a good time messing with me. Everything was good. It was funny that he tried to play off me actually managing to shove him out of my personal space as “cute” and like he indulged me. He didn’t. I know how physics and human bodies work.
- I’m continually surprised to be reminded how young I still look. Having people demonstrably younger than me and newer to cast treat me as their junior is a little shocking.
11a. It’s awesome, though, that literally no one looks askance at me when I call myself 19 in character. No one at all calls me on that shit.
I had some fun moments with Sister Ursula the last couple of weekends. Catholic school came up, and it was determined Sister Ursula would be a TERRIBLE Catholic school nun because she’s so sweet and nice. Faith didn’t even think she could be angry, so we started trying to make her angry. After a few rounds of failure, I pointed dramatically at her and said, “Sister Ursula, I caught you dancing earlier. So I have had ALL the rest of the dancing at the festival CANCELLED this day.”
That did it. She chased me around the group of benches and stage we were at while I protested that I was kidding, I hadn’t really, I didn’t have that authority, and look I’d made her mad! She stopped chasing me, we both started catching our breath, and that’s when I turned around to see both the Mother Abbess and the Bishop from Rome looking at me. And coming my way. Oh, the backpedaling Faith did was magnificent. And the bishop smiling hugely and telling me that was his “disappointed” face was amazing.
This led to a quest this last Sunday on Sister Ursula’s part to learn how to do all seven of the Deadly Sins so she would have an “interesting confession.” (Side note: I have never seen His Eminence’s face morph into so many flavors of frightened in so short a span of time as I did when Sister Ursula told him her plan.) We did walkies together, helping her coax patrons into explaining the sins and helping her experience them. One group of patrons were determined that they didn’t do any of those sins at all, and I kept running into one of them and asking if he’d sinned yet.
When we were in more of a hurry, the bit shortened to practicing her “wrathful face.” I asked patrons to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. She got four ratings: 1, 6.5, 2, and 10. Those high ratings were VERY generous.
I quite accidentally ended up encountering the Lord Secretary and his minion Sir Gwain while they were doing a bit about teaching the honest Sir Gwain how to lie. The second Faith heard they were corrupting an honest man, she stepped into the Angel position opposite Cromwell and refused to leave until he did. Thankfully, neither actor was bothered by this. Though, they could’ve easily gotten my actor brain to take over by telling me to bugger off in sooth because they were doing a thing.
For the first time ever, I got to go to Sunday Morning Foul Time. I have been looking for them off and on ever since I heard it was a thing, and never found them. I think it would’ve been a lot more fun as Faith before she got married so she wouldn’t know what they were talking about, but it was interesting to bounce back and forth across the line of what she was okay with and what she wasn’t.
She’s also perfectly willing to experiment with bad behavior that may be rude but isn’t illegal. Like talking with her mouth full or scratching herself. I was told to pick my nose and protested I had garlic on my fingers, but when I looked up, there weren’t any patrons to pay attention to me picking my nose with garlic-covered fingers, so I didn’t. When prompted by a Seahawk to show my sister what I learned, though, I definitely picked my nose, too.
It’s funny to ask people if they can understand you, and they shake their head no. If you didn’t, how could you answer my question?
Curiosity is her downfall. She will ask. And regret hearing the answer. Although, buckling down and asking what her hoohah smells like after hearing about other women will make her both deeply uncomfortable and relieved. The answers were mostly bread related. The yeast one made her cringe because of yeast infections, but other than that…. Hey, some of those women smelled like despair.
We also got the Quest Guy pass by, and everyone did a quest. As it turns out, I can sing the alphabet song with my mouth full of water pretty okay. It also means I have candy in my pouch to give to kids later who wanted to do more quests but the Quest Guy had already moved on (and I doubt they should keep hitting him up for them over and over, anyway). So, I gave out a couple of quests of my own and had candy to doll out.
Perhaps my favorite part, though, was when I left Foul Time. It was dissolving, but I didn’t want to simply walk away. So, I spotted a woman and her small child and teenage child walking together and asked if the children were hers and if she’d mind a third. She didn’t at all, so I fell into step with them loudly proclaiming that my family had shown up and oh no it was time for me to go. As we walked away from the picnic table of Foul Time, I explained to them what had been going on, what awful people the privateers were, and how grateful I was they gave me an excuse to escape.
As soon as we reached the kitchens, I decided that was far enough and thanked them for their help. Mom pointed out that one of them was following us, so I turned in midstep and went back to following them, again saying very loudly that this was NOT a ruse, they were my REAL family, and I should stay with them, right? After all, I blended in with this family PERFECTLY.
Note: not only were they t-shirt and jeans patrons who didn’t dress remotely like my 16th century yeoman villager, they were also all black. But they happily assured me that I blended in GREAT. They were great sports, and I loved them.
We walked a little farther, and Grace came up the lane. I stared at her wide-eyed and said that was definitely NOT my real, actual sister coming toward us, and she definitely won’t in any way think I’d disowned the family when she found out I had a new one. The patrons started laughing, but Grace did a bit and didn’t hear. They were kind enough to point out that neither Grace nor the following Seahawk were looking, so I had an opportunity to run. I took the exit and ran up the lane, telling the next big group that they had not seen me, and the big man in red and black would not be interested in which way I went at ALL. Also: Seahawks are terrible people.
I walked around on Easter with Lady Jane Dudley, trying to get people to sing Little Bunny FooFoo. It worked a couple of times, but the magnificent moment was when we ran into one of the German rapping twins on the bridge and managed to get him to beatbox while I sang the first part of the song. His justification was that he wasn’t the rapper, so he couldn’t rap it. But it made for a wonderful, wonderful moment.
When I saw both of them together out in the lanes together I stopped them dramatically and said, “Little Bunny FooFoo. Go!” The one brother nearly fell over laughing and holding his face, while the other brother was like “what” and then explained that they had to get to a show, and they were very sorry. They still love me, though.