“Bold” or “The Things I’ll Do to Share in the World of Robin Hood”

As I’ve done a darn poor job of making a secret of, around here, this summer was my first ever stint on the cast of the Bristol Renaissance Faire. As of Labor Day, the Faire’s 2012 season is over, but my time in a little pocket of Elizabethan England will long live on in my heart (…and in this blog, where my serial Bristol-themed whodunit has only just begun).

This whole Ren Faire thing has been huge for me, for a heck-ton of reasons – including, but not limited to: Frequent Robin Hood sightings; laughs had, friends made, laughs had, stuff learned, and even more laughs had; and the folks at the Dirty Duck Inn make several mean bowls of soup. But perhaps the biggest reason of all? Joining Bristol forced me to be “fearless and daring; courageous”, or at least to act as if I were. I mean, just look at all the things I had to do!

Get the Thumbs-Up from Caesar in the Gladiator Ring. Remember that long-ago audition I wrote about? That was terrifying. Well, writing about it wasn’t actually all that scary, but the audition itself? Eeek! You may not know it, to see me perform, but I get stage fright something major. My insides on audition day were a jittery mess. But I dragged myself before the panel sitting in judgment and hammed it up anyway, because I wanted in, dang it! And I obviously made somebody in charge want me in, too. (:

Stick Torture Devices in My Eyes. In progressively more dire need of glasses since the age of ten, I’ve always worn my specs with pride. (Even sported a snazzy glasses chain, for a while there. And when I say “snazzy”, I mean it sure seemed snazzy at the time.) Stylish as my frames are, though, they don’t exactly scream “16th century”. And so, once I knew I’d been cast, I got my first prescription contact lenses. For the first few days, getting the lenses on and off my eyeballs took about an hour roundtrip. It was a real morale-killer, but I stuck with it, and look at me today: Contacts in and out in under a minute! (Unless I’m dog-tired, in which case even spelling “contact” might take me a couple tries.)

Talk to Strangers. I don’t even have to exaggerate this heading; it’s a bone-chiller as it stands! They had me talking to fellow cast members. They had me talking to directors. And the lion’s share of that talk was in preparation to talk to the thousands of patrons who visit the Faire every weekend! It was never-ending, and it was about half-a-light-year out of my comfort zone. But by some miracle, it didn’t kill me.

That’s really the bottom line of my Faire experience: None of it killed me. Instead, it made me stronger.

Looks like Kelly Clarkson had it right all along!

Now when I’m lost on the way to grab pizza with the friends I didn’t used to have, I can pop into a sandwich shop and ask the nice strangers behind the counter for directions. (Done it!) Now if I ever have to walk 15 miles in a humid hundred degrees while wearing two full skirts and a bodice, I’ll know that I can, and smile and shout in a lower-class English accent while I do it. (Done it multiple times!) Now I’ve got my eyes open for more acting opportunities – (yes, my poor, much-abused eyes which, though perhaps no stronger in their own right, can see ultra-clearly through the strength of their new lenses!) – so I can continue to go through horrific auditions in the hope of theatrical fun on the other side.

I’m also going to learn swordplay, so maybe one day I’ll be hired to fight alongside Robin as a Merry Man. #DreamBold

“Monologue” or “A Minstrel Audition”

So, in preparation for the Renaissance Faire audition I told you all about a couple posts ago, I had to memorize a 45-second monologue. There are plenty of dramatic soliloquies out there from which to choose, but after a couple hours online trying to find one I liked, I figured it’d be quicker, easier, and a heck of a lot more fun to write my own. I also thought it would be fun to share the result with y’all. (:

            In the spirit of sharing alike, the piece below can serve as fair game for any thespian types in the house with auditions of their own. …or as fair warning to any would-be minstrels interested in auditioning for apprenticeship to Gant-o’-the-Lute.

Caution: He doesn’t mince words. His words mince you.

* * *

So, you want to be a minstrel? Very well, then – let’s hear a song.

            …Yes, sing. …No, not “no-o-ow?!” – a moment ago, when first I told you. Go on, just make something up off the top of your head.

            Stop! “Orange”? You can’t end your first line on a word with no rhyme! Not two bars in, and you’ve written yourself right into a corner!

            Enough! I’ve heard next to naught, and it’s more than I need to. You’ve clearly no aptitude for this, why on earth waste my time with—

            Music. It means that much to you, then?

            …Yes, it’s there past your water-blurred windows: A minstrel soul.

            Well, in that case, you with me! I’ll guide you to more than you’ve e’er been before and you’ll even learn tricks that will whisk you round “orange”.

            You’ll be music’s voice yet, Bard-to-be.

* * *

P.S. – The results from my audition are in… and so am I! I’ve been accepted into the Street Cast as a Town Crier! I and my two assigned partners in crime get to announce shows and escort the Queen – (God save the Queen!) – and entertain the populace, and I’m so excited I could bust! …But I won’t. Because then I couldn’t be in the Renaissance Faire. 😀

“Audition” or “Acting Like an Actor (and Hoping No One Calls the Bluff)”

Once upon a time, there was a Renaissance Faire.

            It was a truly fantastic place, full of laughter and song, jousts and mythic beasts, British accents galore and – perhaps best of all, in the mind of one infatuated young lady – Robin Hood. Of course, for all his charm and total day— nay, summer— no, LIFE-making qualities (he kissed the infatuated young lady’s hand!!! *swoons*), he wasn’t the real Robin Hood. While the young lady’s mind was happy enough to entertain delusions to the contrary (which would serve as the premise for her first NaNoWriMo novel), this “Robin Hood” was in truth no more than a regular man who happened to portray a legend.

            Still, there was something to be said in the coolness department for being even a non-legendary part of this Renaissance Faire, and this young lady that you’ve been hearing about harbored a deep desire for just such a position. She kept her eye on the Faire’s website and Facebook page, hoping for information on how to go from mere patron to cast member. When she saw that the Faire would be holding open “trial performances, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill”, she panicked, fretted, and cowered, even as she hit “send” on the email scheduling the first step to her fantasy.

This is the headshot I presented to the Bristol Ren Faire powers that be, with my acting resume printed on the back – all part of a ploy to seem like less of an amateur than I feel like and/or am.

            And that young lady… *solemn nods* …was me.

            So, fast forward to Audition Day. The internal panicking, fretting, and cowering had yet to abate, but I’m used to dealing with that. (In this respect, several years of piano recitals/competitions have served me well.) I arrived at the venue in good time (phew! – one less worry in the mix), signed in, and joined the moderate crowd milling in the waiting room. I did not smile foolishly when “Robin Hood” came in to give everyone a pep talk; looked pleasantly interested and squealed on the inside, yes, but there were no foolish smiles to be seen.

            As auditionee number 53, I had a few hours to wait. At first I stood around being nervous by myself, then I gradually ended up hanging out with a woman who found me hilarious and a pair of guys with a recorder and ukulele whom I found hilarious; and between watching a mock duel (with the aforementioned guys’ instruments standing in for swords), joining an impromptu, ukulele-led, all-room sing-along (which had to be shushed, because apparently it was overpowering the actual audition happening in the next room), and wishing I had a harp like the lady sitting over yonder, I occasionally forgot just how nervous I was.

            At last, my number was up, and in I went to perform my prepared monologue (written by me), sing a song (also written by… well, Gant-o’-the-Lute), and improvise a quick scenario in which people I thought were on vacation walk in on me cleaning their house. Yes, I was still a mess of nerves. Yes, “Robin Hood” was sitting right there the whole time. But I think I did well.

            Directly after my individual audition, nine others and I were called in for some quick group exercises, just to see how we could handle being told we’re suddenly parts of an exploding machine, or transitioning through different gravity zones, or to debate why dogs are evil and mountains taste great. I think I did okay then, too, but things had gotten so surreal, by then, it’s hard for my brain to hold onto any sensible memory.

            Next thing I knew, it was all over, and I was heading home to do the same thing I’m doing now: Squirming with anticipation as to what this daring adventure may bring.

            Further details to follow approximately one week hence