Livin’ For The Faire
As some of you may or may not know, I am regularly employed by my local renaissance faire. I am a writer, an actress, and a singer for them. This year I took the year off from the stage and assisted my dear friend Frank in the writing of the musical, “50 Shades of Greymarsh” over at King Richards Faire. (Allow me to preface this blog with the fact that none of the opinions or statements or incoherent ramblings of this blog in any way reflect the owners or management of King Richards Faire, in fact, it doesn’t have really anything to do with them at all. That being said…) Theatre is a hell of a business. And when the lyrics “There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know” are sung, both cheers and groans of agreement ring throughout the venue.
There’s a lot more that comes with theatre that meets the eye. Stages, sets, costumes, microphones, lights. As for the renaissance faire? Well…take all that, and now put it out doors. That’s right. Strip away the only 4 walls (including the 4th wall. Badumtshhh! That’s a theatre joke, kids!) between you and the harsh cruel reality of New England weather, add tech problems due to humidity, or better yet, rain, or hey, sometimes even snow! Who knows. The weather at these venues is so ungodly unpredictable that it’s workers even have a superstition about the word “Rain”. Now that I have typed it several times, watch the weather this coming weekend be positively abysmal and let the hate mail flow (email@example.com).
Live theatre in a venue like the Renfaire is particularly taxing. So really, when you see a performance, stand, cheer, and yes TIP! They have NO understudies, there is NO ability to call in sick. These performers are rain or shine, sick or healthy, dead or alive. (Yes, we have a few people who I think have been dead, at least on the inside, for years.) The life of a renaissance performer has its ups and downs. Most people will be right on your heels to tell you ALL about the bad. But I my friends, am here to tell you about the good. At least first, anyway.
COMRADERY: I have never experienced a group of close knit people like the renaissance faire. This could certainly be viewed as both a positive and a negative. Someone working in say, the axe throwing booth may have no idea who you are, but should he see someone harassing you? You bet your axe the harasser is going to get a talking to. On the same token, that unwashed axe wielding carnie very well may saddle up to you at the after party later that night, with a new found affection for his damsel in distress.
WORK CLOTHES: If you’re lucky enough to find yourself working here, there is a 99.9% chance that what you are wearing is going to get you laid. It’s a fact. Ladies? Who doesn’t look good in a corset? Hoist the girls up like a pirate hoist the flag and let thine adversary know you have headed course straight fer’ his nethers! (Translation: Let your bae him know you want all up on that shit.) And gents? You look like Prince Charming or Captain Jack Sparrow to literally every female that passes you, and you can say just about anything you want as long as you do it with a silly accent and say “thee” a few times. Negative value? Stalkers. You work one day and say hi to a few people? Go home. Look at your facebook. Enjoy your new 928954892 friend requests from strangers.
ATMOSPHERE: Who doesn’t want to work in a fairy tale setting with booze everywhere? It’s like everything we dreamed of as children, combined with everything we drank in college. Basically it’s perfection. This too however, can have a negative value as well. I’ve noticed that the renaissance faire is a bit of a gateway drug for those who’ve not worked in theatre before. It starts with working. Then you’re in character backstage. Then you’ve written an extensive 5 book novelization of your characters “back-story” (which, no one reads or cares about by the way.) that rivals the works of Tolkien and Rowling, with the ever so pungent, viscous-y, self involved transparency of Stephenie Meyer.
So obviously I’m leaving you all hanging at this point. WHAT ABOUT THE BOOZE?!
Well, yes. There is plenty of booze. Though performers totally definitely follow the rules and never drink it ever ever. (I would like to remind all involved in Renaissance Faires as well as Management of any particular faires that I may or may not work, who may or may not read this blog, that this blog is of satirical basis and nothing I say here should ever, ever, ever be taken seriously ever.)
The drinking atmosphere is certainly one of import at the renaissance faire. I have witnessed faires open their gates and close that year never to be heard of again, simply for trying to run a dry faire. Then of course, there was that one vegan festival that didn’t allow alcohol, leather, or fur……which was a bit odd. I’m not sure if it’s the fall weather that is usually upon us when the big festivals open, and the desire for a warm mead or mixed drink to keep the chill off, or if it’s simply a trend of the days of olde that we share a pint and raise a glass with our friends to celebrate a day of festival, but I do know that for all that there is many a drunkard, rarely have I seen it ever get as bad as the local townie bar on any given Saturday night. There is a certain element of respect that the alcoholics of the playground of yester-year bestow upon our little shire. It’s not unlike the respect that a child gives the crawl space he’s learned he can get into the garage with. It’s a thing of wonder. A small portal to somewhere too prescious to risk losing. I may be getting off track here…
Essentially the renaissance faire is an absolutely gorgeous, fairy tale pit of depravity with a thick layer of wholesome family atmosphere of tiger shows and jousts stretched over it to take away from the elderly couple reliving the 80’s and having sex in the maze. On a more serious note, the faire, any faire, really is an opportunity to bring a fun element of adult humor and family fun of princesses, knights, jesters, and wild animals (and no, I don’t mean the actors) to anyone willing to participate. Go. Dress up. Play.
PS: Please CLICK HERE and vote for King Richards Faire to win this lovely little feature. It would mean more people see the show I wrote, and lets face it, we all know I only write this blog to get internet famous.
Once again, all hate mail can be directed to Erik@Nerdfit.com