WIL Final Workshops

I work for the street cast of a local Renaissance festival that is preparing for our spring show now. 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.

This was the final weekend of classes. We have dress rehearsals next weekend, then the show opens the weekend after!

A lot to talk about this weekend because there were several games specifically designed to bring about revelations.

  1. Faith trusts Captain Latimer Fairfield now. There’s a direct line between this trust and the friendship and trust she built with Beckett years ago. It opened a door to accepting that the Captain does in fact love Scarborough and holds its interests in his heart.
    It also solidifies the difference between privateers and pirates in her mind, and establishes another layer of grey in her originally black-and-white world of Justice.
  2. No justification is a good justification for killing innocent people. Not even protecting the village or her own family would be a good reason to kill other innocent people, no matter who they were.
    Faith would be a terrible choice for werewolf. Because she would target someone who is already a criminal for the first victim, and then the next night–now knowing she’s a werewolf and who the other werewolves are–out EVERYONE.
  3. She’s not afraid to acknowledge that people she loves may have sides to them she doesn’t know. There are exceptions to this (it’d be extremely difficult, for example, for her to believe any ill of her mother), but when things get bad, and there is a strong sign something is wrong among the people she loves, she’ll point it out and back it up.
  4. Do not ever assume that your feelings or relationships are “better” or “closer” than those of others’. Faith sees it as an extreme insult, no matter how famed the closeness of your group may be. Everyone loves those around them and wants the best for them. No one is above reproach.
  5. Faith really isn’t seen as a leader figure in the village. She’s not surprised, I’m not surprised, but it needs to be worked on. That being said, she doesn’t give up after being ignored.
  6. Faith sees her biggest failing as Lady Bread as that lack of authority.
  7. From her interactions with Lord Exeter, she’s reminded of the same attitudes she sees in the Rooke, baron of Scarborough. Because of that correlation, if she needs assistance from someone in the court, Lord Exeter is likely to be the first person she thinks of.
  8. Cemented: she has great ambition for herself, but her happiness lies in her family. If she achieves nothing she wants for herself, but all her siblings grow up, get married, and have happy, fulfilling lives, she’ll die a happy woman. Her fondest dream is to die in bed with her grandchildren around her.
  9. Faith associates being called ‘Lady Bread’ by people she knows well as being called out to do her job. As such, she doesn’t particularly relish the title.
    Another reason she doesn’t relish it is that the title means ‘Mum’ to her. Hearing it directed at her is awkward.
  10. She really likes sex. Not in general, only with her husband, whom she loves deeply and passionately.
    If she can’t have sex with her husband, she can’t be married to him. End of story. She wouldn’t be able to keep her hands off him.
    Getting married to someone she has these feelings for then immediately leaving to go back to London for a while left a lot of passion swirling around that had no direction. It led to a marital indiscretion while she was away, which she deeply regrets and found no ultimate satisfaction in.
    She has gone to confession for it, but I’m not entirely sure she’s worked up the courage to tell William. It’s not an “if”, though. She knows she must, and most likely ultimately will.
  11. My pride in myself as a performer is stronger than ever, but still depressingly fragile. Mostly because of the close tie it has to the approval I get. I’m too dependent on it, always have been, and until I can make the root of my confidence come from myself, it always will be fragile.

 

My favorite scene moments all have single lines I said that exemplifies what it was that made it memorable and fun.

“Don’t worry. Most taste testers live several years.”
I had to practice positive conflict, and I chose to give the patron the great news that I thought she’d be a wonderful taste tester. For the royals. But it’s fine, the food is wonderful, and you get to try so many different things. Sure, there is risk of death–horrible death, even, as some poisons are nasty–but it’s not like every meal is poisoned. She could live for several years in the lap of luxury eating delicious food.

“Do you not WANT to feed starving children?”
In a scene with a partner, my partner established that we were going to sacrifice our patron for May Day. Because this is a fertility festival, that means her sacrifice will ensure lots of food for the village in the harvest. Sure, I may have implied that the children in Scarborough are starving–which of course they’re not–but surplus food we have gets sold for cheaper, which means more food for everyone in the general area. There are bound to be starving children somewhere that would benefit from her sacrifice.
The instructor pouted at me.
Our patron then informed us she was Buddhist and wouldn’t burn. So, my partner and I decided we must test this theory. We were going to get something to burn her with and find out for ourselves if she wasn’t flammable. “Stay right there; we will return momentarily.” How To Not Have a Pet Patron* 101.

*A “pet patron” is a patron who follows you around because you invited them to. This usually happens because they agree to the situation you’ve put them in, and you can’t find a way to get them to unagree to it.

“Have you never heard of a meat pie?”
Because I’m working on supporting, I also didn’t drive this one. My partner established that I was going to be making a bread statue of our patron. Which involved the patron standing in a grand pose, being covered in bread, then baked. Naturally. The patron was thrown for a loop that she would be in the bread sculpture, so I helpfully provided the context that she seemed to be lacking. Hey, maybe they didn’t have meat cooked inside bread where she was from.

“Well, she had to keep going until she got a boy.”
We were practicing patron conversations, and my two patrons were arguing. So, I asked if they were siblings or married, they said siblings. We had a fun conversation getting to the fact that Faith has nine siblings, there are nine girls and one boy, the baby. One patron said, “Your poor mother!” so I had to explain that Mum couldn’t very well stop with only girls if she wanted a real future for her family. My instructor nearly fell over, and declared it a successful start to a conversation.

We played In Character Werewolf this weekend, and several of the numbers above came from this game. The individual scene from that which stuck out to me the most happened in the first game. Early on, Faith pulled aside Arthur Sheffield, the only other authority figure in the village present in our group. She pointed out that they were in charge and had to be on the same page and guiding the village. The very next round, Faith died. So, I got to stand aside and watch the werewolves choose. And who was a werewolf? Arthur Sheffield. Faith was furious.

(As a side note, I’m quite proud of how impassive I could manage to be while the people who were still alive had their eyes open because I was stomping, screaming mad when I saw him kill someone.)

He was eventually executed as a werewolf, and when he died, I went after him. We went off to the side and had an intense argument. He persisted that he was saving the village, redirecting the victims to be gyptians* instead of villagers, and backed up his defense by pointing out that now that he’s not alive anymore, villagers are dying in droves. Faith laid into him that the gyptians were also innocents, and because the Rooke has the gyptians under his protection for the duration of the festival, that makes them also under the protection of the Council. (Faith, as Lady Bread, is on the Town Council. Arthur, as Lord High Solicitor, is also among the leadership of the village.) He was still harming people he was supposed to be protecting, not to mention harming people at all. He should’ve given himself up and tried to take down the other werewolves, but instead, he chose to kill. That makes him a despicable person and a traitor to the village as far as Faith is concerned.

In the second game, it began with the death of Faith’s mother. That made the entire thing a thousand times more personal. No one in her direct family was involved in the previous game. This one also began with only deaths of people Faith feels responsible for–villagers and one gyptian. Which meant she had to step up and do something. However, she didn’t have any suspicions about who it might be. The groups present were all ones Faith has some measure of confidence in: the village, the gyptians, the men of the Mary Rose (flagship to His Majesty, so king’s men), Royal Guardsmen, and Seahawks (who have Scarborough as their home port, and although privateers and thus criminals and murderers, the Captain–as noted above–has the best interests of the town at heart). No one she would immediately suspect.

Because the only deaths came from village or village-adjacent, Faith realized a horrible truth: one of them was a werewolf. At least one. Because they’re trying to draw suspicion away from themselves. Without knowing who precisely that meant because there was no one Faith  wanted to think that of, it made her unreliable at finding who might really be responsible. So, she called the village and gyptians over to tell them her theory, in case someone else had insights.

There was a horrible moment when no one responded. Absolutely no one. Not even her cousins or her fellow village leader, who would be the most likely to listen. Absolutely no one came over when she called. That hurt, I’ll be honest, but it only made Faith angry. She called again, louder and angrier, and got a response that time.

The gyptians sent a representative, who informed her that it couldn’t possibly be one of them, they’re clean, they’re good people, they would know, they take care of their own. (At least, that’s what Faith heard in her words.) All implying that the village does or is not these things, which only made Faith angrier. It added a level of disdain to her thoughts of the gyptains, but did not make her suspect them. They have the confidence of the Rooke, so Faith sees no inherent danger in them, like many people of the Period do. But she does not appreciate being told that they think they’re better than she and her loved ones are.

After that, though, Faith didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know who, specifically, it might be, and there’s nothing to be done except kill suspects. Which meant she went from the shock of Mum’s death, to anger that people are attacking her village, to now hopelessness at being helpless to stop it. It was either that or start killing innocents personally out of a hope that they get the right one eventually, which Faith was not willing to do. She would rather let people who are more world-wise than her and more discerning figure it out and support them.

Which she did. She found that in Captain Fairfield. When one of her villagers was accused, Faith asked why, and the basic reason was that he had an instinct for this sort of thing. Because she knows he has the village’s interests at heart, she didn’t believe he would simply throw accusations around, and he is everything she looks for in someone to listen to in this situation–authoritative, world-wise, strong, and compassionate. Yes, it’s in a strange package she would not have accepted a few years ago, but everything else fits. It took some soul searching, and she shook severely while thinking it over, but she supported his accusation, and that villager was a werewolf. Which validated Faith’s original gut instinct, but it still left her with no other moves personally to protect her people, who dropped like flies that game. She would rather have gotten killed herself, to spare some of the others who were more innocent or more needed than herself.

*Gyptian is the Period term for Romani. The Romani themselves often use the correct terminology, though they go back and forth because of ease of understanding for their hosts. I’m unaware of this old term being considered problematic still, but because of its strong resemblance to the racist term for this culture, I wanted to give some context.

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