First of all, the weather on Saturday was surprising. It was cool enough to feel like Closing Weekend, which was rather nice. The down side? It rained on us. Twice: once during “Meet the Band” and once during the 5:00 Wench set.
The scenes went beautifully. When Hood kissed me for the first time, the audience actually made an “ooooooo!” sound (I will allow it is a very romantic kiss). And they applauded when I entered the “Hanging of Will Scarlet.” Rather cool, but also a bit surprising. About the Band members, I will say this: the crowd loved Katie as Jenny Wren. She is just adorable. Will Scarlet is going to be the hot ticket this summer; he is talented, beautiful AND just a lovely person. Drew is a truly wonderful Robin Hood. He’s heroic, handsome, and a wee bit of the funny thrown in for good measure. The audience loves him, and he’s a dream with the kids. Working with him and Lewis (the Sheriff) is a huge gift. I’m enjoying every moment.
Having an hour off after the first joust is happy! I ate lunch (a sausage on a stick) and walked around with Robin Hood, talking to the kids. Bliss!
Both Chess Games were tight, and the fights looked good. My own were a little sloppy, but not horribly so. First day is for working the last kinks out, after all.
Ah, the jousts. The first one was all right. We had some horse issues, though none too terrible, and my partner lost his focus and didn’t remember our ground fight. I ended up getting smashed in the hand with his axe.
The second show was the scary one for me. That’s the one wherein I was dumped during Dress Rehearsal weekend. While I was arming up, I felt violently ill. “I think I’m going to puke,” I said, to which Kelly replied, “Don’t.” Well, when Kelley tells you to do something – or in this case, not – you listen! As usual, the nausea faded once I rode out. Now y’all may think I’m a big geek, but whenever Tam was running a pass, I turned my own horse’s head away. It had been her bucking that set him off last weekend, and I wanted to forestall a repeat incident. Too, I talked to him near constantly. Right before a pass, I’d make certain he acknowledged me (by getting him to flick at least one ear back). Seemed to do the trick. He was hot as hell, but speed I can handle. It’s the bucking that is undesirable. Anyway, I managed to get a rather light hit on Lewis with a solid lance, though I whiffed just about everything else. Only thing that made me feel better is that he was whiffing, too. I did, of course, hit him for the fall pass. Too far inside, dammittall, but as it didn’t skip into his torso, it’s all good.
It was hard for me to gauge the audience reaction when the Sheriff cheated at the end, knocking me from my horse, manacling me and taking me to the execution block. Now, right before the axe falls, the Sheriff is supposed to say “If I can not have you, at least I may be content with your lands.” What actually came out of his mouth was, “If I can’t have your lands…” Oops. There was the briefest of pauses, and then he finished “I will have your head,” or something to that effect.
Then Hood came in to save the day, and I did hear the crowd respond to that. Brill!
Bad part? The ground fight. There were fight kerfuffles again, and I ended up popping my partner in the forehead with my pommel. He got a shallow cut that bled like a mother. I felt horrible. Beyond that. I can still feel the moment when it hit. The only thing that makes it a little better is that I know I cast my energy when I do that move, and did I not it would have been a much worse injury. Small comfort, though.
I got caught up with things and didn’t get a chance to eat dinner. I wanted to get roaring drunk, but couldn’t. Not with a show the next day. So I had a couple of beers which I didn’t even finish, got the most astounding massage from Tim, and went to bed.
Sunday dawned COLD!!! It was, so I heard around 49 degrees when we awoke. The outdoor shower was not so much fun.
When we got to the costume shop, it was not yet open. ::grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr:: Finally, Dan arrived with his own keys, and so we could start getting ready. As a safety precaution, the fighter I popped sat out the jousts and fights. Dan stepped in for the ground fight; we ran the moves first thing in the morning, and he had it in no time. Of course!
Glorious weather awaited us: mid 70s, sunny, light breeze. Yes, I still sweated, but I’m in layers and layers and an awfully snug bodice, so that is really no surprise.
The big news of the day was that our two new horses arrived!!! They’re both ex-polo ponies from Illinois; they got off the truck around 10 in the morning, and even after a long ride and landing in strange new environs, they were nigh on unflappable. Nick saddled up Malibu (a very pretty, sweet faced mare) and rode her around. No problem there. He hit a couple of quintains. Again – no problem. Chris and I fell to our knees in the dirt and started salaaming the horse. It is about frelling time we got a break! They stayed in the grassy pocket by Roselawn stage for the day. The tympani drums didn’t bother them at all. Neither did the trumpets nor the crowds nor the sound of lances hitting shields. YAY!!!!! Lewis joked that we should just saddle them up and put them in the show. “Call them Deathwish and Widowmaker. Hell, we’ve had enough challenges with the joust. We could do this!”
REC was there, and LOVED the Robin Hood scenes. I believe they saw both jousts, too, but I’ll get to those later. Oh, man – before “Hood meets Marian,” Tuck, Jenny, Dr. Bleedmore and myself started playing an absurd but delightful game with the Maypole – or as they were calling it, the Stick. Our game was Stick-Ball, wherein we threw a ball (or in our case, a balled up handkerchief) at the pole and then had to field the ball and try to tag the Maypole out. Hey, the audience dug it! Then, Tuck found half a pickle on the ground and decided to try that against the pole. Thing is, it flew past the pole and skipped along the ground straight into a little girl. Eep! Friar Tuck, man of God and hero of the Shire, folks.
Wench sets were great, but I have found that I have to sprint from the first one to get to the Bridge scene. Over the hill that is Forest walk, no less. Bugger. The 5:00 set was brilliant both days; it is the truly bawdy one. I managed to come up with a new Caviar and a new Ball verse half an hour prior, while waiting to run out onto the Chess Board. I always feel guilty when I don’t have new verses, even if they are lame. Which they usually are, in comparison to Cat’s.
Speaking of the Chess Board, both of my fights were much cleaner. I can not tell you how much I love these fights! The end of Chess 1 is getting a good response; when I leave Hood alone on the board, I, as Marian, feel terrible. The audience is right with him, though, which is terrific. The scenelet at the end of Chess 2 is playing beautifully as well. Nicely paced with a heightened sense of drama punctuated by a truly brilliant comic moment from the Sheriff.
Since one of our jousters was injured (have I mentioned that was my fault?), we obviously had to rework the shows. We made the first one a true tournament. After running the games, I challenged Dudley to a tilt. I won, we did a brief ground fight. Again, I won and was challenged to tilt by the Sheriff. Back on my horse went I (and remounting is never fun. I unhorsed him and got off for the ground fight. We’d worked out a cheat, so that Dudley would be sufficiently angered to demand a tilt against the Sheriff. So, we prepped for a broadsword fight. The Sheriff shook his hand out as if it was in pain and asked me to hold his sword a moment. When I took it, he punched me. And clipped me under the chin. As I lay on the dirt, all I could think was “LEWIS clipped me?” Turns out it was his couret (elbow armor) that got me on the follow through. Ah, well. Let’s just call it the Karmic wheel turning. I made someone bleed, I, in turn, bled. Fair enough. Hopefully now I will stop feeling so guilty.
Joust 2 was another matter entirely. We were trying desperately to think of a way of doing a three-man show and coming up empty. Then a most wondrous thing happened: it was decided Nick would do three passes. On a brand new horse. Yes, Malibu was in the show! Even better was that Raleigh did, indeed, announce her as Widowmaker! Nick did two passes against me. I hit him on the second. Boy gave me perfect shield while riding a horse that has never jousted before. On his third (and fall) pass, Dudley did the honours. I am so astoundingly proud of Nick! The Sheriff did his cheat to unhorse Dudley, and then it was Lewis and I for four passes. I landed a fantastic hit with a solid lance. It was in the sweet spot: he barely felt the impact and yet his shield rang like a bell. “Now that,” I said as I rode into the pocket, “is how you do a solid hit!” I am officially over my trepidations about solids, now! I tagged him again, not as strong but not too bad. Got both break hits on him, too. Shiny!
The execution scene was interesting, as there were no manacles. Good thing we’re all improv trained! It worked out just fine. The ground fight was seamless, Good triumphed over Evil, and it was off to drink beer and sing pub songs for the last half hour.
I love my job. I really, really love my job.
You know, until this past weekend, I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been dreading jousting. I’ve been second-guessing myself and my skills. I’ve been letting my trepidations keep me from doing my best. Excuse my inelegant language, but screw that! After this weekend, I’ve got my confidence back. I remember why I love jousting, and I truly can’t wait for next weekend! I feel a thousand pounds lighter. Joy!
I think I'm going to need a jousty icon.