I just realized that I completely forgot to tell the world about my awesome first rehearsal weekend experience! So, I will tell you all how it went.
For those who don’t know, I recently auditioned for and accepted the job as a Fantastikal at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. Btw, here’s a little plug: If you’re in the Irwindale area between April 7th and May 20th, give this place a visit! It’s amazingly fun for all ages, has something for everyone, and all the performers are great at what they do and love to interact with patrons. Eh-hem, anyways…
I accepted the role of a Fantastikal. Fantastikals are, basically, the fae. Hobs, Brownies, faeries, and even some well known characters like Puck and Oberon are included in this troupe. Everything we do is pantomime. We cannot speak, and we do not act human. I think that’s basically the appeal it had to me…being able to play something nonhuman. Anyways, as I learned recently, this is the first time they’re coming to the SoCal from Bristol, Wisconssin (there have been fae before, but not like this), so I get to experience something that’s completely new.
I was really nervous driving down to Irwindale. Especially since it’s really my first time going on an hour-long driving trip. Also, I have to change freeways a couple of times. Scary.
Anyways, I got there a bit late, but luckily hadn’t missed the orientation. I was definately more nervous now, because it seemed like everyone knew one another…and they basically did. One amazing thing about Ren faire performers is that it isn’t just one person that’s into it…the whole family participates. There are people there that have been performing since they were young, and people who have been performing there since the very beginning (50 years ago, to be exact, since this is the 50th Anniversary of the faire). I and my mother are really the only ones interested in the faire, and (unless she decides to do it next year; she very well might), I’m the only one that was interested in performing. Anywho, orientation was…interesting. Lots of cheering and yelling of ‘God save the Queen!’, which, frankly, was exciting for me.
I was lucky enough to be able to find Genesee and Ginger (our directors who came from Bristol) in the crowd and we went on to our first rehearsal. We found the place we’ll be setting up shop…a little copse of trees (triangular, and the trees are suprisingly low) that is just perfect for fae folk. It’s also right next to where Ren Quest will be setting up, but more on that later. I am one of the 7 people who will be playing the Fantastikals this year (I do not remember names…I am terrible with names, but I could pick them out from the crowd). In order to help determine our roles, we left our homebase to go through an exercise. In this particular exercise, we had to emulate the four elements to varying degrees of intensity. We started out with water, went on to air, then earth, and then fire. Frankly, earth and fire were my favorites. I enjoyed twitching and convulsing in order to emulate the tectonic plates and earthquakes, and I loved doing fire. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time.
Anyways, Genesee is going to be the Autumn faerie (her role from Bristol), Ginger will be Gaia (also her role from Bristol), and we will also have the Air Faerie, the Brownie, the Dragon, the Water Faerie, and moi…the Spider faerie. Frankly, I was excited to be chosen as the Spider. While the elements looked fun from what I researched, I personally thought it’d be more interesting to play something specific (frankly, I would have loved to do Dragon, but I love the idea of Spider). The Spider faerie over in Bristol is an older woman (who goes by the name of Grandmother Cobb), so I’m interested to see how I’ll play my Spider Faerie.
On another note…everyone is so damned talented! Genesee knows Balinese dance and a bit of martial arts, Dragon does Ironbody, Brownie does mixed martial arts…it’s insane! I was sitting there thinking ‘holy crap, I must have really been a last minute necessary addition because I can do nothing but ride a freaking horse’. Saddening. Luckily, I don’t need any of those skills to be the Spider…so I feel perfectly happy with my role and lack of talent. XD
We did a bit of playful flitting about in order to get a feel for our roles, but that was the end of that since Water wasn’t there that day. I woke up the next morning feeling like hell…who knew that working in the sun for about 8 hours and moving around a lot would make your muscles want to melt away from your bones!
On to day 2. I was much less nervous about this day considering I’d gotten through the ‘new girl’ jitters. Since I’m a first year performer, I have to take 9 of the classes they offer in the mornings (3 per day). For me, I have to take the three levels of Improv, three levels of Characterization, and three levels of Speech. Day 2, I took Improvisation, which Genesee was teaching. Oh man, was it fun. First level was sort of boring, but second level was great. We had to line ourselves up based off the status of our characters compared to one another without saying anything. Well, I, being of the fae, had no CLUE where to go, considering the fae don’t really have a status in the human world…so I decided, what the hell, I’ll choose whichever end looks like the highest and place myself at the top. And I did. And it was great, because that was technically the right answer. :D Yay me! Though I did learn that we’ll show reverence to the queen because we, as the fae, like her. Sounds fun.
Also, great game? One word stories. You have to have a partner (or two, or three), and you only get to say one word and you all have to create a story. It was amazing. Carnivorous unicorns and trees getting turned into sirens (or, as I said in the story, ‘tree-siren’s, because it was difficult figuring it out how to call it after the transformation). I totally think I could be a street performer with all the games we played in that Improv class.
Day two was…difficult. Mostly because of my muscles being little bitches that never do any work. The way I play Spider (who I like to call Widow because…I just do) is low to the ground, moving in a crouched position. It’s highly…well, let’s just say it’s painful. And we got to try on costumes! I was so excited. The only things missing from my costume are wings and the hose and such. And it’s awesome. I’m one of the two that doesn’t wear a bodysuit (which means ‘yay! I can actually go to the bathroom without ruining my makeup!), so that’s great. We also practiced a bit with the Queen’s Court. It’s great because the performers actually act like they don’t see us. So, we went around, quite a few people playing that we weren’t even there. One lady gave us some chocolate bread…I reciprocated by putting a stick on the plate (hey, I’m a faerie, sticks are pretty damn awesome to me). We got to play with one of the kids that was there, too. And a block of wood. That block of wood was awesome.
Anways, that was cool…oh! We’ll also be having a turf war with the trolls from Ren Quest. Which is awesome. I can’t wait to hiss at them and throw things at them, it’ll be great. And we’ll apparently be written into the Ren Quest storyline too.
On that subject, it’s awesome how many of the performers want to interact with us in some way or another. Like, one lady offered to read old folk tales and have us appear (like, Anansi in my case). Of course, there’s our turf war with the trolls. I’m also interested in visiting the seamstresses often, considering my character enjoys that sort of thing. And I really hope the Puritans don’t mind me messing with them…a lot.
Oh, yes, there’s also the web. We’ll be stringing up a ‘web’ of sorts between two of the trees in our glade, which will start out small and then slowly be added to each day of the faire. Of course, this is mostly my job, and I can’t wait to see it.
Man, there’s just so much going on with this thing…I’m sure I forgot some stuff in my retelling of it here. I’ll probably blog about tomorrow’s rehearsal too.
This is going to be so fun.