MDRF part Uno, 2013...OOOH, She's doing it again

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Aug 29, 2013, 12:54:33 AM8/29/13
Twas a crazy weekend to be sure and the start of the joy that is the Maryland Renaissance Festival run. As always, the timing, details and order will be mangled and forgotten by accident, but it’s been a while since this was done, so away we go

I was able to do most of my move in on the days before the day before, so I only had a small bunch of errands to get done and one more run of my new shows. I met one of the new guest vendors and gave her some advice about places to eat and roads to take in the next few days. I ended up with the evening sort of free and got even more finished. I ended my night with a shower and an early night to bed. Most years I can’t get to sleep the night before. Today, I am exhausted and actually get some sleep.

The buzzer goes off and I am up and moving. I leave my house a few minutes before 7 and get to site by 7:20 to be on stage a little before 7:30 am. I begin my stretching and am visited by Samuel Hatfield who chats briefly before moving on to his morning routine. Next I am joined by Richard Southwell, nee Yaxley who is a bit early and arrives during my vocal warm up, which he hasn’t been subjected to before. It’s rather amusing, but soon enough I begin make up. This year, I am performing in Mustardseed first. She was the fairy I created as part of the team of Midsummer Night’s Dream last year. I had such a blast playing her on street; I pitched a new show using her as a character. Her makeup is a bit complicated, so it was agreed that I spend the pre-fest hours getting her ready. She underwent a makeover in the last year with the help of Marie Reeves, T-Star Leather, Jezzards and Gwenifaery Immortal and is truly her own lady. I am going with a new hairstyle this year (I hated sleeping in curlers every night last year) so this year she is going a bit wild and free. After hair is painting the garden on my face. It goes smoothly and I am done and at the costume house as it is opening.

I head in and begin to layer. I have to add a knee brace on my right leg this year as I learned that I shouldn’t be kneeling or squatting on that leg. I know in the performing moments, I won’t be thinking about it, so the brace is just to add a little support. I add on the dress, grab my props and take out the special new addition….WINGS! I have a really hard time putting them on myself, so I get help adding them on. They need a little shaping…oh, and for those of you, who looked at me and noticed that one wing appeared to be broken, that’s right, it is…on purpose. See, none of the rest of Titania’s band are back this year, so I reasoned that the only way she was left behind was that she couldn’t fly, or as I like to say “no flipflipflipflip.” Once those are in and shaped, I head out to the site.

I see friends and happy faces including a rather shaved and shy Simba. I seem to be making good time and stop by to ask a vendor in the back if I can store some props for my Boars Head show in her area. She says yes and I am relieved. I also drop of my sound system with SMDave so that I can be heard when walking around the pub later today. Soon enough, its time to check in with SMKatherine and take my seat. This year, instead of a mask, I have my umbrella saving my spot when I have to run and ask a question. And then, it’s time for morning meeting. There are thank yous and reminders and compliments and more. All the notes are given and we BEEP to head out to an 83-degree day with limited humidity. Oh Darn!

I stretch out and go to the privy for the last time before the gates are opened. I can lean forward, but can’t lean back this time, as I am bumpier on the back than the front for once. The Duke is head locked by Isobel Yaxley and I warn them to step toward the fountain rather than the gates that are about to open to throngs of guests. They move, the cannon blows and away we go.

There is a large crowd coming in steadily. There are many hugs to be given and received and the day is bright and festive already. Normally there are a number of people up on the fountain with me, but this year, it’s somewhat small being only Harry Knuckles and myself. Harry has never had to lead the village tour before, but I can’t speak English anymore. After a few attempts, he gets it pretty well and we are making smiles. He also proclaims the village under his rule. Mustardseed decides that means she should make fun of him. It becomes the classic 1-2 clown with me making fun of him till he turns around confused. It makes me happy.

So I look outside and while the first rush of people has finally left, I can still see HUGE lines of people buying their tickets for the season. Knuckles and I head to get some programs and I have him stack almost 4 bunches in my hands. He keeps being surprised when I say more. We head out and I, in gibberish, start offering programs. The lines are long and uneven. Sometimes 2 lines have merged into one making things slower. After I am out of programs, I begin to play and chitter with the patrons as well as try to separate the lines. It’s not easy with wings, trust me. They get bopped a lot, but I am getting better at sidewise walking. As I am able to split lines, I get them significantly shorter as well as letting people know that there are 3 more lines off to the side that are usable and NOT will call. People seem happy to get in faster. Knuckles and I are joined by the Widow Ethelfrith Gripley (I kid you not). I hear her rather than see her as we keep the crowd moving along. I check the time and it’s almost noon. I have a show across site soon, so I head back in and down to the back of the village.

I wander in and head into the crowd. I realize I don’t have much time to do bits per se, but I do chitter at many, especially fairies who I shriek and hug happily. I explain to a few that I can’t fly and that’s why I am still here, I can’t really hawk my show, other than to make sure they get my name, since it is with the name of the show in the program. I make a point to stop by the guest vendor who I met the day before, as she is selling fairy doors. I keep walking up to the doors, knocking on them and calling “adoh” knock knock knock “adoh?” and being very upset that no one is home. The ladies play along and are quite sweet. I check the time and start heading to the hill of doom. At the top, I meet a group of ladies who I realize are pretty darn drunk for 12:00 pm. I chitter a bit and they ask me for a picture. I am assured that they are putting this on their Facebook profile. Who knows? I determine she believes in fairies and mark her as such. Then I head down the hill of doom. I am sad the fairy garden is no more, but see a little boy who is crying. I come near him and he moves back to his parents and cries more. They thank me for trying to cheer him up, but I’m not quite done yet. I pull out my wand and hit it against my cup to make it ring, then put it near his ear. He suddenly starts to giggle. I was even surprised by his response. I did expect the attention to refocus, but he actually had what seemed like a truly magical switch. He was all laughter and joy and his parents seemed so happy he was feeling better. I left with a happy bounce in my step.

I head down toward the stage to see the Ditty Sisters doing their thing to a full house. I head to the climbing wall to get my props from the place where the owner has kindly let me store my items. One gent doesn’t know me and keeps trying to call me as he is holding up a person to stop me from going back. His boss lets him know it’s ok. I get my props, leave my umbrella and head back. I sit on the stones up the hill and notice the time. I move toward the stage and unfortunately, they ran a bit long today. I expect learning curves on opening day and am not worried. They are both hugely apologetic as they rush off, but my show isn’t the full ½ hour, so I can keep the stage on time.

I start the show to a full house, which was after a turn over from the full house before it. I see kids I saw on street as well as a few loyal fans and regulars. I begin the show and start to pull up my audience members. When I ask for Goldilocks, my male friend puts up his hand…so I pick him. He says he was joking, I say I am not and make him come up. He looks great with the blonde wig. Everyone plays along great and I am even happier when I get the kids and the audience to say the English against my fairy. I get a few good laughs and the kids are adorable. Once the show ends, everyone seems to have had a good time and, as I thought, I was able to clear the stage easily before the next act. I take my props back and resort and set up the materials before they go back into storage. I thank my hosts and head back out to the street.

So I have a tight amount of time to get across site, remove the makeup, change, get my props to the Gatehouse, set them up and get out to the street to hawk my show for a little bit. I walk relatively quickly (I hate that hill and really have to work my cardio). I stop for a short breather, then head through the village. I still squeak and chitter at people as I move through the village. Once back behind the scenes, I head down to the costume house and begin the transformation. Face is cleaned (and surprisingly red under my make up), hair is brushed and prepped for Columbina (cause those curls need time to dry), and I switch costumes. As I take off my makeup, I notice exactly how red-faced and warm I am. I also realize I wasn’t wearing sunscreen and am concerned about the skin that had been showing. I leave the liner around my eyes, but beyond that am barefaced. I drink some water and go gather my props. I lug them to the stage and see what the Entertainment Director meant when she said there were a LOT of props backstage there. Yeesh. One of the gents nearby offers some space in front of his items for me to leave props until I can put them into place on the stage. I am much appreciative. I head out on street to do a little bit of hawking and schtick before the show, but there isn’t too much time.

Today Isabella D’Este is reading my book for me. She is quite amusing and the show goes well. I am debating on who I am going to pick from the audience, but none of the people up front are quite right. Toward the back is a man with his 2 daughters and wife. When I pick him, he starts laughing and, well, pretty much doesn’t stop till the end of the show. It was great. At the end, he thanks me for embarrassing his kids. I inform him they were safe; he was the one that got all the attention. I head backstage and pack up my props after getting out of the way of the next act.

Down at the costume house, I notice I am even more red-faced than before. I strip down some levels of clothing to cool down a bit as I fix my makeup for Columbina. Realizing I haven’t eaten yet and it’s 2:30, I pull out some food I brought and have that, and share some of it out on the patio…it’s really odd not eating on street. Back inside, I finish the transition into the gold version of my clothes including some new jewelry and rings. I grab some props (one that continues to break and is making me crazy and a few others). I drop them off backstage at a booth of a gracious lady who has offered some shelf space near the pub and head out to the streets for a while. I wander the streets and run into Anne Hatfield and William McCoy. I berate William with great vehemence for not doing his job. He offers to escort me and I turn him down in a huff. As I leave, I hear Anne and he in a heated discussion as to why he would ask me…etc. I figured I gave them material for a few more minutes of street at the least.

I have discovered that when I wear the mustard yellow outfit, people recognize me from Mustardseed to this character. They don’t generally when I wear the burgundy. This strikes me as rather funny, but it kinda makes sense. I head over to Piland’s and pay off a well past due balance…which means something might be done very soon. I slowly wander back toward the Boars Head and see the wonderful soundmen there. We go over the logistics of the stage, they turn me on (well my mic) and I head to get my props. They even hang up my sign. I am talking to the audience letting them know about the show about to start.

I notice the clouds of dust are already kicking up from the dry ground and have to get a honey drop to coat my throat as I can tell I am trying to lose notes this early. The honey helps. I am waiting for the show on the Market to finish, as the two stages shouldn’t conflict. Eventually, they are done and I turn up my volume…only to find it isn’t there. I see Dinty, who uses this stage as well, but he is in conversation. I don’t want to stop them, but I am in a bit of a pinch as the drunken older gent keeps trying to hit on me and get my picture. I finally see a break in Dinty’s conversation and forsooth him. He discovers that someone has turned the entire system off, which clarifies why there was no sound. He turns it on and I can hear myself. WHEW.

I begin the show and, as I am wont to do, I head into the audience to sing along with and to them. I gently put my hand on one gents face to sing a line to him, and his wife grabs my hand and pushes it away. I calmly sing to them both a bit more and send the rest of my energy elsewhere. Everyone has their issues. I continue the show and bring up my audience member. This gent is well behaved and slightly blushing by the time I am done. The audience is smiling, as is he, and the show ends with a happy energy. I turn off my items and pass the stage to Piper Jones et al. I stop to chat with a loyal fan, who voices great joy that I am back and singing at fest. This makes me smile a lot. Next, I take my props back to the costume house. I grab some water and head back onto the street. I greet people, I get a banana dipped in peanut butter and covered in marshmallow fluff…mmmm. As I tell one patron (or 12), it is like my youth on a stick. I continue to chat with those sitting and waiting for friends near the gate and wander a bit further in to greet and converse with those visiting our village. While chatting with a couple, who had never been to fest before, and their friend, who dragged them along, we see the cannon being set. I let them know that the cannon signals the end of the day when it goes off. Soon enough, it does, and the first day is done. I say my goodbyes and head backstage.

We all head back to change costumes and I reorganize and sort everything away. Once changed, a group decides to head out to get Latin food and I get some unusual guacamole and some very spicy stew to help clear away the dust. The conversation is enjoyable, we learn about interesting things that happened that we would never have otherwise heard about, but soon enough it’s time to head home. I drive home and crawl into bed as the morning comes quickly.

I am sore and stiff today, but Nasonex is a joy and clears up my dirt-irritated nose and I am ready for the day. I run a bit late and once on site start to stretch out. Today, it’s just Richard joining me and he arrives at his normal time. We have a lovely chat about the day before and soon enough, he is on his way and I am off to the costume house. There have been some issues with some of the costuming that has been of primary conversation this morning, but Stitch, as efficient as ever has the situation well in hand. I head out to drop off some items to the lovely booth lady again (this time earlier in the day) and both run through my song for pub sing that night with the O’Dannys and my ukulele song for that afternoon’s show. Then, I deliver my stuff for the afternoon and head to morning meeting. There, we learn about some excitement from the day before and are assured that it won’t happen again. Notes are finished and BEEP, we head out to gate.

I stretch out a bit more before the day is starts. Then the Italian screams, the cannon booms and the gates open. It’s always amusing seeing the actors trying to remind themselves not to look at me or start to and almost respond, but stop themselves, as they can’t see me this year. The crowd flows in more easily today. I am approached by a couple of Asian photographers. I don’t know which part of Asia, but I am guessing Japan. Don’t know the language to tell and we didn’t speak. They start taking pictures of me. I realize I look like an anime character anyway, so I pose. Suddenly, another 10 photographers join them and I feel like I am part of some very odd fashion show. It was mildly uncomfortable as it went on for easily 2-3 minutes. This may not seem like a long time, but when you are just posing and not sure where to look or what they want or what you are really even doing etc., it feels rather long. After they leave, I mumble something to Harry about the “weirdest damn Fashion Show I’ve ever been in. He laughs along with me at the oddness of it. After they move on, we continue to greet the other guests. We do a few more tours today, which are a bit smoother today and when the crowd leaves, I head into the village.

Today, I am in the village far earlier than yesterday, so I have time to explore the village. I stop near O’Shucks to see some regulars with their kids. The daughter notes she doesn’t like mustard and I start to leave in a huff. They bring me back and I spend the rest of the time taunting her, much to the amusement of the rest of the group. I wander about and head toward White Stag Grove where a huge group has gathered to roll cheese. I have come up in the middle of the event and suddenly, on the last roll, the town Adventurers run off with the cheese. They finally found something. In a few minutes, I see them return (they do tend to lose things) and Anne Hatfield grabs the cheese from them. She is holding the cheese up and Carmita down, so I take the opportunity to have a little fun and take the cheese from Anne. I begin to make the cheese “float” and the court and villagers are screaming that the cheese is floating and magic or oh I don’t know, demon cheese or the like. I hand it over to Isobel Yaxley, who can see me, and head on my way. I flit by Noblesse Oblige and help convince a gent to purchase what he has just tried on…in gibberish (I convinced him in gibberish, he wasn’t in gibberish).

I wander about and run into patrons who are looking for specific stages or wondering what to see or do today. I give them advice or directions, but not in English. It’s kind of amusing, but it works well and they do understand what information I am sharing with them. Actually, what is more amusing, is that the person I am speaking to often doesn’t understand me, but the person WITH them does. I think the panic of not hearing regular words shuts some minds down until they realize I am trying to communicate and it’s similar. Then, they track really well. I sing a love song to a couple relaxing and make them kiss and laugh together. I head away from them and run into some of the court. Only one gent can see me and I use my magic wand to inspire all the others who cannot. We dance about each other for a moment. I run into Thomas McCoy and we chat with a patron as he tells them how I live at his house and protect his family.

I wander up the sun bowl stopping by the Fairy shops in the area. I run into the Italians again and “inspire” them. I stop by and say hello to a vendor and some patrons sitting under the trees. I head toward O’Schucks and begin to chat with some patrons when I realize my magic wand is missing. I retrace my steps to the last place I used it, with the Italians only minutes before. I scan the ground all around the area and simply can’t find it. I am almost in tears as the “wand” was a gift made for me when I went to Dell 'arte. It was made by my next-door neighbor who lived with the amazing fluffy white cat, Louis. I can’t find it anywhere, but I know a sad fairy isn’t what people want to see, so I try to regroup and continue interacting. I am a bit distracted as I let a few friends know what has happened, but till this moment, there has been no sign of it returning to me.

I do a time check and see that I am much closer to my start time for Mustardseed’s show than I thought and head down the hill of doom. I am still a bit early, so I begin to chatter with people on the boardwalk. Again, I hug those appearing Fey and some speak back to me in chittering as well. I head back to get my props and head toward the stage as the Ditty’s are finishing their show. They are very concerned about the time but I assure them they are perfect. Once they are clear, I take the stage and see a rush of little girls at my stage. As I start the show, the kids are getting into it and “get” a little more of it. When I ask for my Papa Bear, a woman volunteers the gent next to her, who was great. I get little girls for the other 2 bears and when I ask for Goldilocks, I see a 12-year-old boy in the back raise his hand. I ask him if he is serious and he says sure. I pull him up and he is my Goldilocks (see a theme yet)? He is playful and fun and Papa Bear is great at guiding the other bears. Again, as we get to the porridge, chairs and beds, the audience knows what is going to happen and says it together before I say it in the fairy version. The kids start getting into their lines and are adorable. Soon enough, the show is over and as I am packing up my props. One little girl wants to ask me some questions. Once I have answered her inquiries, I take the props back and set them for next week, then head up the hill of doom.

I head back to the Costume House. On the way, I am surprised by a face I didn’t expect to see. I stop and talk to the little girls in the group and head on my way with an odd sense of calm. I get to the backstage and clean off the makeup and begin to change. Again, my face is VERY warm and red. I drink some water and go get my props. When taking out Stupina’s face, I see it has a peeling chip. I remove it and grab my repair kit. I bring paints to fix the face and add sealant. I try to be careful, but I am in white and end up getting a drop on my sleeve. I immediately try to wash it with the water and ask one of the others on cast to take the hose to help so I can rub faster. Unfortunately, she inadvertently sprays me first and my entire crotch area is now wet…and I go on stage in less than a ½ hour. Oh, joy. I wash what I can and stand in the sun a bit to try to air out my now inappropriately damp pantaloons. I head out on street, then when the show before is clear, I head to the stage.

Today, my reader is Julienne Romero. He has to pull out reading glasses, but we make a bit out of it. I go to hang the girlie wheel of color and the rope has undone itself, we riff a bit as I retie it and when I put it up on the wood, as the hook that used to be there (for at least 10 years previously) has been removed, it falls and clatters to the stage. I hang it again and it stays this time. Today’s gent is playful, but not as charming as the day before. The audience has fun and soon enough, it’s time to take our bows and say goodbye. I head backstage, repack my props and head down to the costume house to put them away and change. I take off the mask and see I am even more flushed. I drink some water and peel off as many layers as I can as I switch my make up over to Columbina. Today is the burgundies, so I pull the other colors. I am starting to cool down a bit and redress and lace up. Soon enough, it’s time to head out.

I wander out to the streets and stop by Piland's for some more water. I wander into the food court and stop to talk with an older couple with a younger woman with them. I am not sure if there are 2,3, or 4 generations involved here, but we get to talking about the fact I am a courtesan and that we are some of the most well educated women in all of Italy. He notes that only the church and nobles have libraries, and I note I have access to them. We discuss dowries and how if you had many daughters, you often couldn’t provide dowries for them all, another reason why some women became courtesans. He notes that the young woman is worth 3 cows. I tell him at LEAST 3 cows and a sheep and explain to her that that makes her more valuable as sheep can be both clothing AND food. She appreciates that I value her. At that moment, the King walks by and I call to him. He calls me over and I courtesy. We chat briefly and as I turn and walk back to my new friends, I note, “See, I can get into those libraries.” Over my shoulder I hear “I heard that Columbina!” from his Maj. They are amused and laughter is shared by all.

I see the time and realize I am VERY close to show time. I rush to pick up my props and head to the stage where SMDave is graciously available to help me sound up. We check that the power is still on and he heads off. (We love the sound guys). Today, I change up a few songs and the audience is playful. Some of my regulars who NEVER make it to shows have FINALLY come and sit for the entire set. I thank their wives who most likely kept them from getting distracted. They are great audience and the songs get laughs and people singing along. For my “demonstration” I pull a gent out of the audience who I am guessing is about 70-80 years old. I sit him down and suddenly blank as to what the next bit is. I cover it as no one seemed to notice. He is a perfect gentleman and blushes as his wife laughs uproariously in the audience. The audience is terrific and playful and I happily thank them at the end of the show. I put the honey lozenge back in my mouth from right before the show to avoid the dust I see floating everywhere.

Today, I am singing at Pub Sing, so I take my props back and head to the Pyrate Camp. On the way, I see a lovely gypsy lady and we talk violins and Sondheim. Once there, I run the song with the ladies who are backing me up and then take a moment to actually sit. My back has been screaming but the day is almost done. It’s that time and I head into the pub for the first time this season. People are surprised and happy to see me. I inform them I actually do have a singing show at the Boars Head if they wish to come see it one day. Many didn’t realize. It IS only first weekend after all. This year, there is an official dance core of ladies, so I leave my traditional spot to sit on the sidewall. I meet up with some old acquaintances as well. Soon enough, I am called to the stage to sing. I am amused when my back up group expands by one tall mulato “girl” in a long wig joining in with the other two. I move my mic away, but they come closer…it’s very fun and everyone has a good time. I almost miss joining in the gang at the end of the show, but I head to the stage to sing Wild Mountain Thyme with them and close out the evening. The cannon booms and I head quickly backstage. I am escorted part of the way by a charming gent.

I head back to the costume house and am informed that because of some issues, the locks are going to be changed on the costume house, but may not be this evening. I know that my items are mostly one of a kinds and non-replaceables, so I load everything out with the help of Dieter and SMKatherine. It wasn’t how I expected to end the day, but you do what you have to on a daily basis. I am tired and push for Asian food tonight. The others in the group aren’t sure, but decide to go ahead and, once there, all agree after pots of tea with honey and spicy soups that this was indeed a good choice. We close the restaurant down and finally leave to go our separate ways home. I am exhausted an pull out laundry at home. My newest feline acquisition decides she must curl and cuddle up into my sweaty stinky laundry. I film it because it was funny. Then, to sleep for me so we can do this all over again.

This weekend is a 3-day and I am so excited to have you all play with us. Special guests for the Girlie Girl show this weekend coming include:
Saturday, The Renaissance Man
Sunday, Absolutely Nothing’s Donkey Man, Matt
Monday, Um I can’t remember because I am so tired…but it’s someone really cool!
Hope you can make it

Until next we meet in the Grove…
Teatro di Pecorino Romano
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