Best. Weekend. EVER.

Last night at dinner, I summed it up to some of my fellow cast members thus:

If I can have one weekend like this per season, then everything is worth it.

A run-down of the high points, saving the best for last:

* His Most Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ apparent use of Ye Olde Renaissance Crimping Iron on Saturday. OK, it looked like ass, but it gave a bunch of us cruel bastards something to make vicious fun of on Saturday.

* The fresh-out-of-bootcamp 18-year-old Marine that was shipping out soon to Iraq that I was introduced to on Saturday. He looked simultaneously rigid and scared, and his girlfriend was near to tears. When he was introduced to me, I looked off into space and said “where?” My fellow performer said “right there.” I said again “where?”….and then locked eyes on him and said “OH! Wow–that new camoflauge really DOES work!” (He was wearing the much-lauded new “digital” or “pixellated” camo, which many soldiers have made fun of) When I said that, he broke from his Marine-prepping-to-go rigidity, and broke into a huge 18-year-old-having-fun-at-the-Festival GRIN. For a moment, he got to forget everything and laugh. His girlfriend mouthed the words “Thank You” to me, and I nearly lost it. When they were moving on (to meet the King and Queen), I dropped accent for a second and told him to take care of himself. He smiled again at me and said “Yes, sir.” Back into accent, I said that I was a knight, not an officer. He chuckled again and said “Sorry, habit.”

* Seymoure was back at Pub Sing on Saturday, and showed us all how it was done. The limericks, the Pudding Song, and a palpable feeling of being part of something with a history–I used to sit and watch him perform when I was in High School, and there I was singing along on Saturday as a cast member.

* Speaking to several little boys at the Children’s Knighting who had wooden swords–telling them to remember that now that they were knights, they must honor the code and never draw their weapons in anger–only to defend someone younger or weaker than themselves. The look of relief on the parents faces was great….but even better was the solemn, serious nods from my 5- and 6-year-old companions-at-arms…including one young knight who dropped to one knee and bowed his head.

* King Ricky’s wicked humor, as always, makes the time spent with him as his courtier an absolute joy. Get him away from the Queen, and he blossoms. Our minds work in very similar ways, and so when we’re off on our own, often accompanied by Michael and a guard or two, we easily fall into rapid banter and witty repartee. We read each other very well, and it makes our interactions with patrons (and with other characters, for the amusement of watching patrons) a lot of fun.

…and now for the best two:

* Spitte from the Jolly Rogers is shipping out for Guard deployment, so Sunday was very much a farewell. Very few dry eyes. After their song at the Last Huzzah, I brought him down center, and said that since he was about to do service for King and Country (he tells me at this point under his breath “please don’t make me cry”), the King is well pleased with his service, and wished to pardon him for his crimes of piracy. So the King pardoned him (and only him), declaring him a pirate no longer, but an honest pre-emptive marine salvage expert. The reactions of his fellow crewmates was perfect. Cliff loudly complained, and then realized that this makes Spitte eligible as a legitimate target….and so with a hearty cry of “GET HIM!!!”, the Rogers chased him from the cobblestones, and out of sight. Feckin’ PERFECT exit. The only thing missing was a sunset to ride off into.

*…and as if that wasn’t enough emotion for the Last Huzzah, I then called Cutthroat Rose (Beth) front and center, much to her confusion. The crowd parted, and the knights from Noble Cause led in a white horse, mounted by a rider hidden by a white hooded cloak. The rider dismounted to reveal Scuttlebutt Billy (Josh), at which point Beth shot me a look and mouthed “the fuck?” He dropped to one knee, and, since his character is mute, held up flashcards that read “WILL” “U” “MARRY ME (in sooth).” Then he popped the ring-box.

Beth lost it.

The crowd went apeshit.

The entire cast started to cry.

She said yes.

The crowd went friggin’ INSANE.

I am so proud to have played even a small part in something that many, many people will remember for a very long time.

There are two more weekends to go–the three-day Columbus Day weekend, and the final. 5 days that will be hard-pressed to top what we’ve just been through.

Plus, this week is the Funky Formal (Thursday night in Lawrence–you’d better show, you slackers) and the Cast Party on Sunday. Can’t wait.

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