(**WARNING!** italics, CAPS and bolds gone wild ahead!)
Saturday dawned glorious, though I must say that it was warmer than I had anticipated. Not bad, mind, but I was of a mindset for cool, and this was true Indian Summer. Kel had stayed with us the night before (wherein I introduced her to the perfection and joy that is Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly’), and so we all trundled ourselves to the costume shop at our usual early hour.
Oddly enough, I’ve not too much to say about the day. Mayhap it is having waited so long to make an entry about it; more likely is the possibility that my emotions and physical exhaustion were playing havoc with me. I’ve been going full bore for several months. My body is weary. And - TMI alert, for you squeamish folk! - I was PMSing in a huge way. Everything was magnified through that wacky hormonally imbalanced lens. It was also a bit odd, as REC’s film crew was here, there and everywhere, madly filming to get decent footage from which to make a brilliant and dazzling commercial. Would’ve been nice if they could have avoided fighters’ footwork with a bit more consideration…
Scenes were good. Oddly, I found something new just before Opening Gate. (Great timing, asshat. Closing weekend and NOW you find something oh-so-simple that you’d managed to miss for the previous two months?) Oh, and in the first Chess Game, my fight with Hood was HOT. Wasn’t as clean as it might have been, but whoo! And this, my friends, is why I’m going to miss that fight. As for my Chess 2 fight with the lovely milfsrus - once again, a whole bucket of water. Film crew loved it, planned to film it the next day. I didn’t hit her on the head, either, which was a plus. Shout out to you, CKB: it has been a blast fighting you! You’re so badass, you can’t help but make me look good. Reflected glory. Nothing wrong with that.
Verse-wise: ‘Ball’ verse was for the Scotsman, though I sang it to one of the squires at Pub Sing (bless the young lad, didn’t realize it was a positive verse, at first!). For ‘Caviar,’ I wrote a verse for my joust horse. AND I sang it to him backstage before the final joust, ‘cause I am that much of a dork.
Speaking of jousts – the first one was fine. Hits were okay; I didn’t nail Lewis in the head, which is all to the good. Also, tagged Nick on the first solid pass, got him but good (right in the sweet spot of his shield!) on the second solid pass. Sometimes I feel like I’m actually good at this jousting thing. Oh, but here’s something pretty: during my ground fight with Lewis, I was backing up while parrying a head cut, and tripped on my own skirt. Yes, I landed flat on my ass – HARD! – in the sand. I scrambled up and continued the fight, but… ::le sigh:: Someday, maybe I’ll be cool. The final joust was good. Oh, but it was good. Lewis and I had three double breaks. Then it came time for me to ride out to center – poor Oso! I’d had a talk with him prior to the show; I’d sung my ‘Caviar’ verse to him. Lewis had had words with him. Still, when it came time to let me be knocked off of his back, he was having none of it. Damned near tore away, despite Lewis’ best efforts to cover. (Might I note here, I feel like a complete ass of a horsewoman that I can’t keep my steed in one place for a stunt; am I not better than that? ::grumblesnarl::) Still, all in all, good shows.
Pub sing was fun (no, really?). Anne’s words made me snort; Janet’s made me weepy.
Only one more day.
That night was fairly uneventful. We’d had a few unexpected visitors (one of whom was very welcome!) to Faire, and we gathered at the Rusty Knyfe (after feasting on leftovers pilfered from my fridge). I left early, hung at the Tack House fire for a little while, chatting with Hood and the Sheriff and Raleigh, primarily. I slept surprisingly well, to awaken to…
… a beautiful, slightly cooler Sunday. Rain had fallen through the night, bringing a front in with it.
This was it. The final day. Y’know, for all the crap that we’ve dealt with this year – and there is a fair amount (no pun intended, but there it is) I’ve not posted about here – it has been my best summer. But I digress. More on that in a later post.
Again, arrived at the costume shop early. Pulled out my costume and accoutrements and weapons – for the last time this season. Refused to get weepy, despite the Lens-of-Hormones that I mentioned earlier in the entry.
turtleott was visiting!!! I didn’t get to see her until the end of the day, but it was a joy to know she was there. She’s one of those people that makes the world that much brighter for knowing she’s in it. Her son ain’t no slouch, either.
Hard to forget that Lens, though. I got teary-eyed indiscriminately the entire day. First wench set, during the up-tempo, Joni Mitchell-folk-rock ‘Health to the Company,’ that was the first. ‘Ha, ha!’ you might say. But hearken to the lyrics, you cynics: “… let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain, for this company might never all meet here again.’ Now, for the final song of that set (‘Wild Mountain Thyme’) I normally do a very pretty intro. Not so that day. I said something along the lines of: “And so we come to the final song of this set. I would normally say something sentimental here. But today, I will just say this: for all of you who have shared this summer with us, this is for you. Thank you.” And – I WIN!!! – I made KK and Kel weepy. I win!
Scenes… heh. Okay, RH meets MM: REC wanted to film ‘the First Kiss.’ Yeah. It’s a good kiss. Makes sense. But they wanted optimum lighting – meaning, the sun behind RH and MM’s profiles as they smooch – which meant shifting the blocking. (and I did spend a good, solid five minutes them telling them what preceded the kiss: blocking AND dialogue) No big, really, but I know there are those actors out there who will read this and go “But that’s going to change the dynamic entirely! Throwing something all wonky and new in, now…” And so it did. We altered our blocking – and had the stupid reflectors making us squint – AND having a BAD kiss (Kiss of Death!™) ‘cause when Hood came in, it was all askew and he missed my mouth and had to slide down… worst part of it all was that the film crew still managed to miss it. So… after Joust 1 (more on how the filming affected that later!), we had to go out to Greenfield Commons and do a phrase of our Chess 1 fight (which they’d also managed to miss) and stick a kiss on to the end of that. Which was weird in many ways, but in no small part because my husband was there, watching, waiting to film his bit of ‘Three Hunks…’ I repeat, ::le sigh::
So. Jousts. Joust 1: here’s the deal. REC wanted to get footage of the ground fight from the second joust, but the lighting at that time of day is not optimum. So, in a compromise, we stuck part of that ground fight at the end of the first joust. We, of a necessity, had to alter it. After all, we couldn’t kill the Sheriff mid-day when we needed him for scenes after that, could we? Lewis is the goods; he knew that what was planned wouldn’t have packed a proper punch (ba-dum-bump!), so he talked me through the end of the show. “Hit me again,” he murmured. Then: “Once more.” Then there was the kick line…
After all of that, I got back into girly-clothes and went to meander with Hood. We went on an ice-cream date. So cute!: We got to the booth, manned by nubile young women, and he leaned over to me, “I’ll have to flirt to get this.”
“No problem.” I went over to the Archery Range and made friends with an eleven year old girl and her Mom; her little brother was not so taken with me, but then he might have just been embarrassed that I could shoot better than him. And that is saying a lot. In any event, Hood came back with a HUGE cone, and we shared it as we headed to the Tudor Rose.
We ended up staying out on the street longer than we meant to (lots of photo ops, mostly for him). All of a sudden I looked up and saw a rush of black. I touched his arm, hissed “Sheriff!” and booked for backstage. Got there only to realize I had, apparently, ditched the Hero of all England. He’d been taking a picture with someone, and I’d just cut and run. Um… oops?
Chess 2 was remarkable for things other than my own concerns. Kel’s fight was just gorgeous; HUGE envy!!!! Also, when the Liar’s fight was over, and the Sheriff came on the board, the Liar brought in his wee double (Peter had come in a kilt, white shirt, and green peaked cap). And speaking of wee doubles… this one made me cry yet again. When the Queen called Dudley forth to second me (as Marian), he looked reluctant. “Excuse me?” thought I, but all was made clear. “Your majesty, I would gladly stand by the Lady’s side, but I would not see your majesty left unprotected. And so I offer young Noah,” and here he called forth his son (also clad in kilt, rose in hand), and bade him protect the Queen while he (Jeff) was on the list. “That you may defend her,” he added, and handed his son a brand new Starfire dagger. (“give the Queen the rose,” he whispered as Noah crossed the Chessboard) You’re damned straight I was crying over that one!!!!!
Running on to the final Joust: Had a very, very VERY serious talk with my horse. He licked my hand and rubbed his nose against my thigh. You figure it out.
This was it. Last one. (Got teary, in case you’re wondering) No screwing up; that’s no way to end a season. (little aside: I walked into the joust closet to get ready, and saw my tabard on the table… then I saw Kel get my tabard from the rack… homina-whaaaaa? Jess had made me a new tabard: unadorned, but EVER so much better than the other one I had been wearing all season. Yes – it made me cry) It was a hell of a show. The passes were GOOD. Really, really good. Save the last one; it skipped up a bit, and I was PISSED OFF at myself about it… but no harm, no foul. We’d had beautiful double hits before, despite my losing a stirrup (see, this is why I ride so much without stirrups in training!) For the final pass, we managed to time it so that Lewis would fall just so… and, no surprise, he did it perfectly! Yes, right through the next-to-last green rail on the list (the really falling-apart one)… looked spectacular!!! And hopefully means we’ll get a new list next year… though, sadly, I’m not counting on it.
After the Sheriff’s unhorsing, I rode Os out to the center for the final bit… and he stood. I’ve never felt him so tucked in his life. He was crouched into himself, so very unhappy, but staying because I wanted him to – and when I was hit, and had to fall, I had to fall from his left side…
And he damned near ran me over. Kel said it was amazing to see him look down, see me… he lifted his forelegs high (Oso did this! The big comfy couch!) and pivoted so as not to step on me…
Then the ground fight. And the defeat of the Sheriff. And Hood’s absolution, and that last moment… and then, when we walked back under the portcullis, hand in hand, Hood grabbed me and hugged me so hard I thought I would snap in two. Yep. Whoo. Hell of a Summer, folks.
So… after that, it was changing into real clothes (ie, Marian wear) and to Pub Sing. As we walked over, I draped my arm over kelleymck’s shoulder, and we both realized that neither of us can quit before the other. It ought to have come as no surprise, but even so – it was nice. Pub Sing itself was grand, despite no beer. One of the squires had a verse for me, but there were so many other folk going during ‘Ball…’ that he didn’t get a chance (he did sing it for me later, and it was adorable). Hood had a verse for me, too!!!! Pub Sing also afforded the revelation of who the nameless Town Liar had been all along.
Walking back to the costume shop under a rising moon was strange. Strange, too, was the rush of beard-shaving. Chant I’ve seen, and he’s handsome no matter what. It’s rather silly, really. Stompy – I’d forgotten what he looked like without facial hair. Raleigh – WOW! Waaaaaaay different. Not bad, just different.
Good-byes were tough. Some people I knew I’d see within days, others, not for the coming season, at the least. The hardest farewell was with Hood. We both rushed around, making sure we hit everyone we needed to. Then came last call for the bus, and we caught each other’s eye, and he said, “I guess we have to do this now.”
He took my hand and pulled me outside, just outside of the spill of light. We hugged each other astoundingly hard, said a few things – and that was it. I wasn’t expecting it to be that ouchy. Odd, no?
I’m sure I’ve missed lots of detail – ooooh, like Eric-kitty-fantastico sending closing-day feather roses to Kel and I via his mom (her for her friendship, me for my courage) because he couldn’t be there; Emily of the Edelweiss girls being there Sa†urday (mini-me, in case anyone knows of that lot)…
For now, I am weary and no little bit heart-sore. Could it be that I ever complained about this job? How could that be so? Honestly, I’ve met some remarkable folk, strengthened existing friendships and found new friends in old acquaintances.
I’ll weep later, for I am a sappy sort. For now, I’ll just say thank you. Anyone who came to watch and support us, anyone who performed by my side, anyone who put up with panicky me (joust-wise, particularly), any and everyone who made certain that this show is not about individuals but about a CAST, about an ensemble, and for everyone who understands that this show is all about what each one of us brings to it.
This is a magical place, and I’ll not ever say otherwise. Thanks to all for sharing in that magic.
Thus endeth my final entry of the performances of NYRF 2004.