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07 July 2003 @ 04:13 pm
still more whinging  
I promise to post something cheerful soon. Honestly, I am not always this cranky.

Yesterday was absurdly hot. Hurrah. Ground fight rehearsal began at 10 a.m. So it was that I found myself out in the dustbowl that is Roselawn joustfield for four hours. We’ll be starting with a true melee; I am to be in the front ranks on the ‘good guys’ side, as is Robin Hood and Queen Elizabeth (in a beautiful, huge, heavy and very movement-inhibiting gown-I have no idea how she’s going to run into a melee). I found myself at the back of the melee, fighting three very inexperienced fighters, only one of whom has anything to do with he Robin Hood scenario (he’s one of the Sheriff’s guards). One of them knows he has no fight experience, and is totally cool with learning what he needs to do. The other two apparently have some fight experience, primarily rapier (I think) but the stage-combat principles are the same... certainly the footwork is.

I should insert here that the day was very hot, the sun merciless on the joust field, and I was not only tired from two days of rehearsals in the same conditions, but I had just started to bleed the day before. In short, I was an emotional mess.

Now then... I pitched an inner diva-fit:

"I’m playing Maid Marian, and I’m a decent fighter!" I thought. "Why am I stuck in the back fighting people who don’t know what they’re doing?"
My head replied reasonably, "It’s smart to pair up people who know how to fight with those who don’t so they might help the latter to learn. Besides, the good side is loaded with capable fighters. There’s a dearth on the bad side."
To which heart replied, "Lalalalalalala. I can’t hear you. I think I’ll just stew over this some more."
Whereon my head threw its figurative hands into the air and stomped over to the shade for a cup of tepid water.

I tried to swallow all of this, to just tamp it down so that I could deal with it later, perhaps with the aid of my heavy bag. Then we started Chess Game rehearsals. I have already mentioned here my issues with this fight. I started walking through it with my partner and was told by his wife that the first part looked really good. It was that blasted pattern that kept plaguing me, and then only the last bit where the four rapiers are moving independently of one another. Dan kept giving me notes and suggestions, and I kept nodding and very quietly saying "OK" even as I could feel tears pressing at the backs of my eyes. At last, I said "I think I need to take a break." Dan nodded. I slowly walked away. Steve, one of my fellow actors approached me to ask if I was all right. I managed, "Just a bad day," and kept walking. The are where we warm up our fights during show days. The grass was above my knees. I leaned against a metal trailer, disregarding the heat, and cried. I cried for my inability to learn what, apparently, should be a simple pattern. I cried because I felt guilty for wanting more when I already have so much. I cried for my selfishness. I cried for my lack of skill, for not having effectively hidden my distress from my fellow castmates, for my weakness, for shattered pride.

When I’d dried my face, I walked back out to the bleachers, climbed to the top and lay back. Robin (who is, incidentally, the husband of my fight partner) joined me a few minutes later. "Are you all right?" she asked. I could barely answer around the lump in my throat. I basically spewed it all on her: my diva-fit, my frustration, my fears. She put her arm around my shoulders. "Oh right, you’re such a diva. You, who the moment we drove the van up, leapt up and walked across the field and over the fence to help unload. No one else moved until I called for help." I shrugged. It’s just simple common sense to me. Regarding my frustrations with the case of rapiers fight, she said, "It’s difficult choreography. Dan would not give this to just anybody. The only person I can think of who could do it with ease is Lewis. And, watching you, it looks good. It just doesn’t feel it yet to you. And the first part of the fight looks hot." She also mentioned that this was likely so frustrating for me because it’s a true challenge. "You are a natural fighter, Kelly. It comes easily to you. This once, it doesn’t and you’re not used to that." Which may or may not be true, but it made me feel a bit better. "And I never said Dan was an easy partner!" At this last she laughed, since she doesn’t even like to fight him. He changes the choreography and when he makes mistakes blames it on his partner. Robin did assure me he was likely to settle down once the show was underway, as his head was currently full with choreography for other things (ground fight, pub brawl, etc).

It helped some. I sniffled for a little while longer, then found Steve, gave him an enormous hug and thanked him for being such a sweetheart. Better still after Lewis and Kelley watched my fight with Dan and said it looked great (neither of them would lie to me), and Kelley mentioned a couple of things about my form that just made me feel so very, very good.

We finished around 5:30. Lewis and I had planned to ride, but we were both knackered. I suggested walking the list, though, and we did so: 6 times with our own shields and solid lances, then with just the ‘car door’ shield. He and Chant each did four; I managed two. I refused to let myself feel like I had failed for not doing more. I am a woman, after all, and my upper body strength is never going to be what theirs is. And that’s all right.
I feel: blahblah
I hear: "The Lighthouse's Tale" -Nickel Creek