One more to go. Weather on Saturday and Sunday was perfect, and the fact that there was both a NASCAR race and Billy Graham was appearing at Arrowhead significantly cut-down on the Annoying-Ass-Redneck factor.
To be completely honest, nothing really stood out on either day, because the entire weekend was eclipsed in my memory by Sunday night’s Cast Party, and Monday’s Wet Hell With Children and Pain.
Ye Olde Renaissance Frat Party
Alright, so maybe I’m being mean to the DJ hired for the cast party, but do we REALLY need to hear “Shout” and the fucking “Chicken Dance”? Know your audience, halfwit. That’s the first rule of performance, and DJing is performance (or it is when it’s done right). You don’t spin for a bunch of eclectic performers and play the usual Frat-party and Wedding-dance bullshit. GRRRrrrr.
OK. Rant over. Pet peeve of mine. Maybe I should burn a CD of what I would’ve spun had I been up there.
I had the rather disconcerting experience of getting drunk, but the inebriation NOT being enough to shut down the pain receptors in my feet. Normally, getting drunk produces a pleasant numbness. Not this time. I was drunk, but still hurt. Strange and unpleasant.
Aside from that, the party had its fun bits. I was kissed a few times, including a toe-curler from Denise that felt to me like the long-awaited incarnation of a thought that’s been lurking in the back of my id since about 1986 or so. Laura was wearing a leather-pants and velvet skimpy top (along with the requisite golden lasso and Wonder Woman tiara), and was the object of much naughty attention from both male and female, which was mighty nice to watch, especially since I get to go home with her. :) I drank quite a few tasty things (including the much-lauded “Sly Grin” of song and story), one really not-so-tasty thing (the paint-thinner mislabeled as “Vodka” that had been given to Mike), got to see Carlye propose to Mike (and also see another proposal which made me wince–dude…proposing at the GALLOWS? Good thinkin’ there, chief), got hit on by the mother of a cast member (that was fairly bizarre, even in my experience), and sat around providing sarcastic commentary to the ridiculous over-long awards ceremony. Good Times.
But the weekend didn’t end there….
Cold Day in Hell
Monday. Columbus Day. School Field Trip Day. Thousands of children, ranging from elementary schoolers clamoring for us to sign their character treasure-hunt sheets to high school teens having sex and smoking pot in the porta-johns. Peformers subject to theft (I had a favor plucked from my costume, others had cups and pouches disappear), harrassment and even assault (one delightful little citizen, a future prison inmate, was led from the site in handcuffs). Joy, under the best circumstances….made all the more special by what felt like a 20-degree drop in temperatures through the day, and a constant, cold drizzling rain that started at about noon and continued throughout the day, soaking us to the bone (The Court Ladies were let go, later in the day).
But it got even better.
At about 2:00, I was heading up the path between the Pub and the animal rides when my left foot (the one that’s been giving me the most trouble since the Festival began) hit a stone. Instead of rolling to the front or the back, which would have sucked, but at least I’d have been used to, the stone rolled sideways. My ankle turned, collapsing to the outside (thank god, because I think if it had rolled the other direction, which happens to be the direction that the ankle already pronates towards, I would’ve fractured the damned thing). An electric-white flash went off in my forebrain, right behind my eyes, as my adrenal glands said “Holy crap! What the fuck was THAT?”
I hobbled my ass up the rest of the way and made it (I have no idea HOW) to the circular bench between the Crown and Rose and the Wizards Tower, where the area manager had me sit, telling me that my face had turned the color of my doublet. I was eventually moved to the costume trailer, where I sat and felt the velcro of the ankle brace inside my boot get tighter and tighter as the swelling increased. I missed the Ball scene (thank you to Mike for covering the announcements of Their Majesties) and the Children’s knighting.
Here’s the part where, in the interests of a proper and accurate record (and because Laura will no doubt tell everyone anyway), I admit that I probably could have been sent home, had I pushed for it. I was asked several times if I would be able to continue, and I said that I would. This is because I have a work-ethic when it comes to performance that would make a Puritan tell me to chill out….or it’s because I’m STUPID (this is Laura”s theory. I will leave the truth of the matter as an excercise for the reader). So, regardless of the cause, I hobbled out, supported on a spare halberd provided to me by Swan the Guard, and performed in the Riot at the Gallows, the Hanging (scene 6), and what might possibly go down as the best Last Huzzah ever.
What started as an abbreviated two-song Last Huzzah turned into a sprawling epic, as our Entertainment Director, desperately trying to cover for the cannon which was not loaded (as we were going early), continued to give me the ‘stretch’ symbol….leading to a rendition of “Drunken Sailor” that featured such verses as “Make Him Stand and Freeze His _____ Off” (with the entire crowd pausing at the same time) and “Make Him Sing With a Twisted Ankle.” The cannon was still not ready. We lauched into “The Mermaid”, and stretched some more. I added a Herald’s verse, off the top of my head:
“Up spoke the Herald, nowhere near the ship,
and a cold, wet and broken man is he.
I’m tired of doing nothing but hobbling ’round the lanes,
so let’s sink to the bottom of the sea.”
Finally, the cannon was loaded, and we were ready to go into the Queen’s leading us in “Canaan’s Land”….except that nobody told the pirates that “the Mermaid”, which normally is their cue to start the closing scene of scenario, WASN’T. They launched into the scene. The Director started to panic. Finally, he looks at me and says “Cut them off. GO!” So, I limp out on the halberd into the middle of the scene, and shut them up by just telling them how the story ends: “OK, LOOK!” (I point to the Lord Mayor) “He *is* Malcus the Bloody. His Wife is the treasure. We’re Done. Now, I want to hear the Queen sing.” At which point the crowd (which is 90% performers and 10% patrons) roars its approval, giving me a HUGE energy boost, and Queen starts the song, and we’re done.
I’m standing there, cold, wet and dizzy (not sure why–maybe the exertions of the performance, maybe the overload of crowd-energy…dunno), with people shaking my hand, hugging me, slapping me on the back. I hear a background buzz of people talking to me, telling me that it was great, but I’m having trouble focusing. Suddenly, I’m looking at Suzi, who has grabbed my face and is looking at me and says “You, sir, ROCK.” Getting complimented by a performer whom I respect so much snaps me back into reality, and I hobble off to find Laura standing nearby in a cloak (having been a bad girl and violated our Director’s edict about coming back on to site after you’ve been let go). She takes me to the car, gives me dry clothes, and drives me off for hot Chinese food—where we run into Denise and company, who gives me a painkiller that REALLY helps (Thank you).
Today? Throat raw. Still getting occasional shivers. The ankle is swollen, but not badly. Looks to be a sprain, which I stay off for the rest of the week, so that I can do the final weekend of KCRF 2004 next weekend.
…and I’ll miss it when it’s gone.