The Faire season, to my mind, is officially over. We performed (as the Crimson Pirates) at the Maryland Renaissance Faire this weekend past. Dan and Robin consider this their home faire, mostly (I think) because the Pirates Royale are there. It is beautiful. The booths are gorgeous, as are the grounds; the food is wonderful. The seafood booth (oyster shooters (shrimp for me, thank you very much!), decadent crab dip, steamed shrimp, and so much more) is a true delight. I had a blast there last year. This weekend past... not so much. It may just be that I am tired. *More on that later, though.
Don and I drove to our hotel Friday evening. I picked him up at the train station in Hawthorne, that we might have a good hour and a half less on our drive. Now, I knew it was likely to be chilly during the weekend. To that end, I crocheted a red scarf that I could wear with my costume as we drove southward. Geeky girl, to be sure, but though it was a bit lumpy (not too bad, all told, considering some of it was done in the dark), it served a purpose. The hotel was fine, save for the air quality in the room: dry and hot. Add to that a burgeoning cold, and you have a very stuffed up me waking up at four in the morning, gasping for breath. I fumbled through the dark to shut the heat off and then lay atop the covers for the next hour and a half, desperately hoping to fall back to sleep.
We met up with the crew from our hotel (Dan, Robin, Ann K. and Mark) and set off to Faire in time for morning notes. We were introduced, as were the visiting jousters (no women on the list, though apparently the wife of one of the competitors is a jouster). It was full contact (and thus full plate armor). Feh. I’m good at what I do, but if it comes down to someone really trying to unhorse me, well… they’ll likely win. Add to that that I do not have full plate, and you know I’ll not be competing any time soon.
Anyway, we had a few sets (two at White Hart – a truly beautiful pub with a rather lovely miked stage) and two at O’Shucks, near a tree facing the main seating area). They went well enough. I nailed my harmony on ‘Fisherman’s Wife,’ but as it’ll revert back to Karen when she is performing, it’s no big.
One rather funny thing: this is the first year MDRF has done a Robin Hood scenario. Apparently the RH from Southern Cal was available. He does a kid’s show, he’s a fighter, he has the costume… and so they built scenes into their day. I only had the chance to see one of them (on Sunday). The fighting was fine. The script was passable. Their Marian was very pretty - completely objectively, she was way prettier than me – but not remarkable otherwise. I met the actor who plays Hood that morning, thanks to Robin. (“Robin Hood, meet our Maid Marian.”) Funny; he knew all about this year’s cast changes. What the hell are they saying about NYRF in Southern Cal? I am perplexed.
A word as to the Pirates Royale (the House Band of the MDRF): they are astoundingly talented. Fantastic musicians, great voices, wonderful arrangements… I only wish I knew them better. I am so frelling shy, and feel like such a fifth – or seventh, or twelfth – wheel in this group, I say “Hi” and fade into the background. Don’t know why that wasn’t the case with the Corsairs, but there it is. I’m not comfortable. I feel a bit of an intruder (and this may tie in with the *aforementioned unrest).
In any event, we returned to the hotel Saturday evening, had an early dinner and went to bed early as well (only to toss and turn, bemoaning cold-congested lungs).
Sunday dawned cold and rainy. Good thing I crocheted that scarf. Had ‘Henry Martin’ at the first set (thank heavens!). So, I’m singing away, and as I hit the fourth verse, I realize I had skipped the second. You know, the one where it introduces the titular character. I blinked rapidly and stumbled on, thinking “They’ll go with me. Sure, they may not know who the hell I’m singing about, but…” Not my finest moment.
I got to meet kachi113!!! She’s just as fabulous in person as she is online. With her horsemanship, her cool-collectedness and her admirable height, I’d say she is prime jouster material. Think about it, kachi. I’m just sayin’. For the future.
Bad moment on Sunday was when we did ‘Strike the Bell.’ Now, it is pretty straightforward song, pumped up by onstage antics. Normally, it is my job to man the clapper-less bell (and play various reasons why I’m not sounding it until the end of the song). Since I was busy jousting and fighting and being a mythopoetic archetype this summer, Lionel covered the bell bit. When we went to perform it at the tavern on Sunday, I automatically went for the bell (it’s a thing with our enormous group: if a bit is yours, it is yours whenever you are there; someone else may fill in when you are gone, but once you are back, you reclaim it). Anyway (and let me insert a warning for extreme pettiness ahead!), as I was searching for the bell, Lionel grabbed it.
“I thought I was,” I began.
“I’ve got it,” he put in.
Okay. Fine. No big.
Until the song started, and he was doing my jokes. He did a few of his own bits, but several were things that I had always done. You know… I really don’t care if you take my bit, but MAKE UP YOUR OWN FRELLING JOKES, ASSHAT! And seriously, now I don’t even want it back; anyone who saw the Faire this summer will think I’m ripping off Lionel’s jokes.
Which leads me to this: I think I need a break. I have not had a break in working Faire in some aspect, be it the actual show or CPs, in over two years – if not more. I think we all need a break. I can tell you this: I came damned close to quitting the group two weeks ago. Ditto for this past weekend.
I could articulate the reasons here, but I would sound whiny and petty.
It can be summed up thus: I didn’t have fun. Maryland was not fun. That makes me cranky, because it really ought to have been.
Here’s hoping we don’t have rehearsals until the new year. Here’s hoping I can recharge.
Now I’d like nothing more than to call in to work the next four weeks, write a gloriously bad 50,000 word novel and play bodhran and pennywhistle (not simultaneously, of course) until I force myself to get better at both.
Valuable lesson is this, kids: sometimes being a pirate is really frelling cool. Sometimes, it just sucks.