First of all, the Black Eye update: by Thursday, the swelling subsided. Not so the brilliantly coloured bruises. Come Saturday morning, I still had a perfect half-circle of maroon under my left eye, with a bloom of green and yellow near the corner. There was no covering that; any makeup I might apply only dimmed it a bit, and as the weather promised to be hot and humid, said makeup would only melt off.
Friday night was the annual Superhero party. I wore black jeans, boots and a tank, threw on some very specific black eyeliner and an ankh and went as Death (“-warmed over,” thanks to the Black Eye).
But back to hot and humid…
We woke up extra early Saturday, as I realized we’d neglected to leave extra food for the kitties. Good thing we live near enough! After showering and feeding the girls, we stopped at the deli for breakfast sandwiches, and drove away only to realize they’d put ketchup on both of them. Since we’d already had to double back to the house to get a prop Don forgot, there was no time to get more food. So, no breakfast for Kelly. And – insult to injury – Don ate both of the tainted sandwiches. Foolish of me to be cranky over that; after all, it wasn’t as if I was about to eat one, but I was tired, hungry and PMSing in a big way and rational thought had no place in that mix. Anyway, that is just to let you know how my day started. Meh.
It was already warm and sticky at 7:30 a.m. That boded ill. Costumes were not yet done; while most of them had been washed, they were not yet sorted, including the shirt I wear under my armor. I had to run back up to the costume shop to get it – and it still wasn’t with my things, since the costumer did not realize it was mine (three weeks into the run!), so there was much grrrring and snarliness.
As to the rest of the day, it was frelling hot, and abysmally humid as well. The air was so thick, it was tough to breathe. A winning combination, no? Despite this, we had decent crowds. They seemed to enjoy the show greatly.
Still a jouster shy, we kept the first show to three riders. Nick did very well; our ground fight was fine, but he forgot to put me on point at the end. There we were, me on the ground, my sword within easy reach, and me speaking though gritted teeth: “Point… point… for God’s sake, put me on point!” After he and Lewis had a go, I challenged the Sheriff and we rode four passes. What I didn’t know is that he had hurt his arm when Nick pulled him from his horse. I had two absolutely GORGEOUS solid hits, and hit him with both of the breaks as well. When we hit the ground for the fight, I noticed he was bleeding over one eye. Splendid. Just great. We did our bit and got him off the field so the EMT could check him out. It was no great injury, just a hell of a muscle strain. While very painful, it would heal, and he was able to do the shows the rest of the weekend. The bleeding over the eye was a minor scrape from when he hit the dirt during his first fall.
Chess Games, scenes, wench sets… all went well. Actually, my fight with Hood is getting a wee bit sloppy, but we’ve already made plans to clean that up next weekend. He is a truly brilliant partner, and if I’ve not yet mentioned how much I am enjoying working with him this summer, let me state it here now. He’s a most generous actor; everything he is feeling shows in his eyes, in his physicality. I can not help but respond, emotionally and intellectually. He and Lewis both are drawing a better performance out of me, in scenes and in fights. How on this great green earth did I get so lucky?
Anyway, on to the second joust. We decided to reprise the second joust of the weekend past, only instead of Chant, Jeff would do the rideout. He felt he could do that much, then get CB’d off in the pocket before the joust passes (which would then be Nick and Lewis against me). Jeff managed it, but barely (his horse is NOT an easy ride!) The passes ran thus: me/Lewis, me/Lewis-Nick, short break while Queen says two against one is unchivalrous, me against Nick for three (knock him off on third pass), me against Lewis for four (fourth pass was his fall), and then the rest of the show continued as usual. Now, I was uneasy about hitting Lewis (save when I really needed to), but he pointed out that with his injured arm, he couldn’t do a lot of hitting. There had to be noise, and I was going to have to be the one to make it. Again I had nine passes, and now I really REALLY had to hit. Yipes.
It was a golden show.
If you read this journal with any frequency, you know I am not one to boast; rather the contrary. Well hold on to your hats, folks, because I’m about to toot my own damned horn. The passes were absolutely gorgeous. I’d say I had about a 90% hit rate, and every single one of those hits was in the sweet spot of my opponent’s shield. Solids, breaks – every hit sang. My partners were brilliant; my horse was listening to me at every step. I can only hope that I have more shows like this one. It made me giddy. It made me proud.
There is this as well: the audience was astounding. They truly hated the Sheriff. They absolutely loved Marian. As Lewis knocked me from my horse and put me in manacles, the crowd response was so loud that it drowned out the dialogue – MIKED dialogue!!!! When he threw me to my knees before the block, they gasped, and when Hood leapt over the fence to save the day, the roar was deafening.
Oh, gracious, one more thing: at Meet the Band, there was a little girl, Francie (there with her brothers William and Noah). While she was happy to talk to me, she grew shy about having a picture taken. So, I gave her a beautiful pink rose that Little John had in turn given to me. At the second joust, the actress who plays Mira Swampwallow was at the fence with little Francie. Turns out Francie wanted to give me the rose before I jousted. I threaded it through my belt. Apparently, my entire section let out with a heartfelt “Awwwwww!” Just lovely.
One more thing. During the lovely ceremony that precedes the joust, the Queen announces that Marian has proclaimed the ancient rite of Trial by Combat. I turned to Kel, crouched downstage, and said for her ears only “Oh my God! I thought I said trial by wombat!” She fell to the ground. Woo. Hoo. Victory is mine!
Went to the Rusty Knife that night, where there was far too loud music, but several folk helped make Robin Hood favors. Yay!
Sunday was just as hot and humid, though we were blessed with an occasional breeze. Oh, and I awoke to the onset of the (as Don calls it ) Red Tide. Oh, joy. Now, you may groan and think “TMI!!!”, but if you’re reading this LJ, you have some idea that I am an adult woman. These things will happen. Deal. ::winning smile!:: (the silver lining is that I’ll be free and clear for Labor Day weekend)
It was a tough day, to be certain, at least for me. My energy had been utterly sapped the previous day. Saturday had felt like a Sunday. Do any other performers/attendees agree? Yeesh. Next weekend should be a treat. Three days in a row! Woohoo!
But on to the Sunday that was. I’ll skip over things that went as usual – Opening Gate, Morning Address, Hood meets Marian, wench set… first Chess Game was fine. My fight was sloppy again (see the aforementioned note to clean it up next weekend). I love that I have a fight partner who wants to keep working. The Bridge scene was remarkable only in that a heron flew overhead (about a foot above Little John) towards the end of the scene. ‘Meet the Band’ was a little distressing for me, but that issue will be addressed. Suffice it to say that while all are welcome, it really is a scene for the kids. If you don’t have sense enough not to monopolize an actor whom children will want to meet and interact with, stay away. I do not anger easily, but screw with the kids and you will incur my wrath. Do not quash their wonder. Ever.
On a brighter note… I’ve been in the Singing Wenches for five – five? yes? – years now. I’ve been coming up with new verses for four of those. I’m tapped out, my friends. I’m just never going to be as clever as Cat. And, even so, I had decent verses both days this weekend. I might even go so far as to say I had really good ones on Sunday. Shiny!
A moment to give a nod to our brilliant Archbishop, who declared Sunday Easter. He hid eggs throughout the shire, tacked up posters, and encouraged all of the performers to play along. And so we did. None more so than Mira Swampwallow, who all but coated herself in chocolate and sprinkles (to match the bunny ear hat and cotton ball tail she had made that morning). She could so easily play the attractive woman card, but she is all about astoundingly huge choices for the sake of the audience’s entertainment. Go, Mira!
Somewhere in the day - don’t recall where – Mason’s mom approached me. I really should find out her name, you know. Anyway, she was there with her daughter Sarah and Sarah’s friend Jessica. Mason had been very put out, she told me, since it was a Girls’ Day Out. But, she handed me a red rose, gave me a kiss and said they were from Mason. Yes, I melted. Also, one of our regular patrons approached me right before the ‘Hanging…’ scene to tell me how much it meant to her to see me as a strong, capable and yet feminine Marian. “I was too shy to say it before,” she went on, “but even with the black eye, you are beautiful.” I’ve said it before: What is it with this year? I’ve never had so many people approach me before! I’ll have you all know that I am being very very good, and just saying “Thank you, it means so much to hear you say that!” and NOT saying “are you out of your MIND?” I am grateful, I am beyond honoured, but I still do not quite get it. Eeep.
Joust-wise it was a tough, but good, day. Tough because we were just drained from the weather and from aches and pains, and good because there were no new injuries.
The first joust was a hoot. First of all, when I rode out, I had quite a surprise. The cheerleader in my section had convinced the entire crowd to smear purple under their left eyes. Yup – I was no longer alone in my Black Eye glory! They also sang a bit from a TLC song, and as I had been forewarned by Kel, I was able to ride over and shout “Just call me Left Eye Marian!”
As to my ground fight with Nick – I had drilled it into him to put me on point. Only problem is, after he kicked the sword out of my hand and shoved me into the ground, he DROPPED HIS OWN SWORD! We made eye contact; I nearly snorted. Poor Nick! I made as if to grab it, and fortunately he got to it before I did (I would have found a way to do something had he not), but apparently the scramble looked cool, and if I end up fighting him again we’ll keep it. My fight with Lewis, after I’d unhorsed him, was fine. The audience gets so angry when he punches me, and so happy when I turn him around and lay a roundhouse on him. When he fell, his left leg was cocked up. I kicked it out from under him on a whim. The audience roared, and I heard a “Nice!” from Lewis. Lovely.
Second joust? Interesting, and here is why. Jeff felt well enough to ride the show. That meant we had four riders on four horses: we could do the show as we originally choreographed it. Thing is: none of us remembered it! It had been so long since we had done that show, we’d forgotten what the frell it was! Justin and I had a bit of a mad scramble, but we sussed it out (with a few minor alterations, since Malibu is not keen on open field passes). The ceremony was notable only in the Dukes of Hazzard reference (just for you, Kel!). While my hit ratio was not quite as perfect, I did well enough. I only had seven passes (yay!!!), and my hand only acted up on the very last hit.
So giddy with joy was I that when I rode to the castle to receive the Queen’s acclaim, I was loopy. As she heaped praise upon me, I did the ‘aw, shucks’ routine. Got Ann to chuckle. Again, I count that a victory. For a wonder, Oso stood for the CB off downstage. I’m not sure if it’s Lewis coming from the left or if it was the fact that the hot and humid weather had just tapped him out; either way, I’ll take it.
As I was getting out of armor, we were informed there was no more beer in all the Faire. Now, having a beer at Pub Sing is something of a delight. We can do without, but it isn’t as much giddy-fun. Anyway, on our arrival at the Rogue’s Gallery, we found the rumor to be unfounded. On stage and dancing like the loons we are, Kel and I noticed Will Trap near stage right – with a smear of mud under his left eye. Bless him he’d started his own movement of Black Eye, mixing mud in his pot and smudging it under people’s eyes (including the Musketeers).
I tell you, it is enough to make me consider having Kel punch me each weekend. This Black Eye stuff is brilliant fodder for the improv company.
Of a certainty I’m missing anecdotes or moments of note. Apologies. I’m a very weary lass; I can’t possibly recount this all in perfect detail!