Weekend 6

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.

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.

*sigh*

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 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. 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 ), got to see propose to the aforementioned shadowy ursine (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….

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 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 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 ‘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 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 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 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.

16 Replies to “Weekend 6”

  1. Well, *some* of the hoops were let go. ;) I don’t even know what time they were dismissed, as Miranda couldn’t leave due to her ride, and we were at the Joust, et cetera. I was fortunate enough to have a rain day dress on, but Karen was in her biggest VELVET dress, without a parasol. My costume was almost too heavy to carry, and my ruff didn’t start getting wet till the hanging, hers had been soaking up water all day. I was amazed that she could walk by 3, let alone 6:45.

    For the record, I was fearing that you would be in huge trouble for making up verses. We couldn’t see the *stretch* signs from the top of the gate, as the rain fell progressively harder, and it got progressively colder. I tell ya, we were in bad shape by the time we got up there, so we were counting seconds. Every time another song was called for, I wondered if I could stay on my feet till it ended, and at the same time I was astonished that the peasant dancers and gypsies were still on their feet.

    Did you hear about the patrons that left to pick up family and then CAME BACK to see the hanging scene? We had an amazing crowd at the 5 o’clock joust and brought 4 or 5 of them with us to the hanging.

    I am frankly shocked that there were so many performers left, and that you were able to stand at all by that time.

    Well done sir, well done.

  2. For the record, I was fearing that you would be in huge trouble for making up verses

    Heh. Well, the way I see it, he tells me to stretch, he’s askin’ for it. That said, you may have noticed that I continually checked over my shoulder to check his responses. I was expecting to see him scowling…but every time I looked, he was grinning broadly, and singing along, and at one point, mouthed the words “I LOVE YOU.” So I guess it was all good. :)

    Did you hear about the patrons that left to pick up family and then CAME BACK to see the hanging scene? We had an amazing crowd at the 5 o’clock joust and brought 4 or 5 of them with us to the hanging.

    I hadn’t heard that, but we were thankful for the crowd you brought with you—the “Riot at the Gallows” from 5-5:30 was performed for half the time to no audience at all….although that led to some nice moments, including interacting with a non-existant patron: “Are you Eyeballing Me? Do you wish to test my mettle?”

    Well done sir, well done.

    Muchas Gracias, Reina Hermosa!

  3. HE WAS EYEBALLING ME! I swear! My favorite part of the the Hanging Pre-show was when no one was around and I asked Winston loudly for our non-existant crowd and his reply was that he nipples had frozen off.

    It was quite mindnumbing doing the herald role for scene 4 since I don’t usually have to tink of their titles. I actually just let my mind go back to when we had Henry as King and left off the “France” part, the queen was more complicated. After going over her titles with the King I also added “Bitch Queen, Gypsy Whore” to the list, but thought against it, even though our lovely King really wanted that.

  4. The experiences were so totally different, even with us so close to each other. I hear that the pub sing was fabulous fun, too. There I was wondering why the gods hated me so, and really it was filling time so that the cannon could go off. LOL Even with all of my experience with faire, I have a long long list of things I could have done differently to make it easier- better parasol, spare set of long underwear packed with the galoshes, the list goes on.

    My favorite part of the day was spending 2 hours in the lanes on a caffeine high wandering around gathering ladies. I started alone, and within half an hour there were 6 of us wanding around together. LOL. Turns out Ron and I were actually walking circles around each other, which is why we couldn’t find each other. We chatted up patrons in the lanes, crashed the 2 kid costume contest and made their day, found out that the Bristol Ladies frog was Princess Jane’s Father, et cetera. While I was very very glad to get to the shelter of the dias at the joust and that the rest of the ladies could go home then, I was pretty dern proud of all of us for being so big and happy in that weather. (oh, and the look on the Mom’s face when I stopped and warmed her young son’s hands with mine, that was pretty rocking too.)

    I was so amazed that there was a crowd for the hanging. Amazed. I was amazed that there was a crowd for the joust, and that they were screaming bloody murder the whole time. It was amazing, best energy ever for that one.

    I am so not ready for face worldly troubles, let alone my laundry!

  5. Thank you for the compliment, my friend, that means a great deal to me coming from you. You *do* rock! It is the ‘new’ performers who come in and remember and appreciate those of us who still work and still share a professional ethic who make it all worthwhile to continue.

    It always amazes me the vastly different experiences that we have, each and everyone of us on such a day, for all that we are on the same few acres of land, in a place far, far away.

    Being able to wear a cloak under which I stayed warm and dry all day made all the difference in the world to me. ‘Course, the first time I caught a cold that went to bronchitis and then to pneumonia dates to my first year as Queen, ’81, which it was me out there in a purple velvet costume with no cloak. I won’t do that anymore. Not for anybody. Not no way, not no how. Were you guys absolutely denied permission to wear cloaks – even fancy and appropriate ones? Hell, I have one for Elizabeth that is just as fancy as my costume! Anything else is simple lunacy (and btw, I”m ‘friending’ your lovely wife, donno why I haven’t before!)

    And yes, the Monday Pub Show was awesome even if it was masterbatory theatre since we outnumbered the patrons two to one. If the Wenchly crew hadn’t been there in mundanes it would’ve been slim pickins’ for certain. It was a musical treat that none of us shall ever forget, wet or dry.

    Now go rest your ankle! Them’s orders, sir!

  6. Were you guys absolutely denied permission to wear cloaks – even fancy and appropriate ones?

    We were basically told that Himself didn’t want the costumes covered up, and cloaks should be limited to VERY ornate and be-jewelled shoulder capes…and only then if we “must”. Nothing full-length, which sort of makes the whole thing worthless, in my opinion.

    (and btw, I”m ‘friending’ your lovely wife, donno why I haven’t before!)

    She only recently fell to the insidious peer pressure of LJ. If you’ll note, she has yet to start making entries, although I’m sure that she soon will be.

  7. So I see! hahahaha- another one hooked!

    And on the cloak issue, I’d tell himself to take a flying fuck! I’m not standing out there catching my death of a cold for anyone….oh wait….I already did….n’mind.

  8. In reality, your sprain was probably helped by the fact you were in the brace, in that it would have kept the swelling from truly getting bad.

    You have done well. Stupid, possibly, but as any performer who ever considered themselves professional would have dealt with it (and funny too).

    With regard to the id incarnation, and the solace…glad to be of service, my dear…I am, after all, a full service wench.

    D.

  9. My ass on the cape issue. There are specific ways such things can be built into costuming so that it is a part of the entire look (if he needs a fucking reference he can go back to the long surcoat worn by the Spanish Queen in 1994 which covered her entire gown and was more ornate than her fucking dress.

    He is such a hypocrite. It’s not as if he didn’t freaking wear cloaks when he was King.

    D.

  10. I don’t really feel like defending him, but what he really goes off about is too many black or dark cloaks coviering up costumes. If anyone came up with a full cloak that was as, or more, ornate than the costume, I think he would have an orgasm on the spot. :p

  11. Indeed, I recognize his beef…which only doesn’t stand up in that people in period would have worn whatever the fuck they could have to cover up in cold weather.

    The hypocricy is that he did it himself when he was a performer.

    D.

  12. The Chicken Dance

    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.

    FYI
    The chicken dance was specifically requested by Princess Christina. I’m sorry that you had to suffer through it. Every one was there to try to have a good time.

  13. Re: The Chicken Dance

    Erp.

    Sorry about that.

    I forget that there are chilluns about, sometimes, and that they deserve to celebrate as they wish as well.

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