Hello Readers and Playgoers,
Several months ago, the owner of the Renaissance Faire, Cornelia, met me at a popular restaurant for lunch. She and her business partner were ready to produce Virginia Renaissance Faire 2022. The event had been suspended since 2020 due to COVID-19. She had agreed to assist me in producing my musical “‘Tis All a Game of Chance,” at a later date, so I felt it was only right to participate in some capacity in the Faire.
I attended the auditions in March just to get the lay of the land, to see where it was being produced (Lake Anna Winery) and see what the Faire was all about. Cornelia asked me to audition. When I told her I had nothing prepared she responded that all I had to do was tell a story. The “bit” performances at the Faire are not memorized. Cast members at times may agree on a subject in advance but the actual delivery of the performance is strictly improvised. More often than not, it’s wholly the creation of one actor whose “bit” player is unaware of what drama he/she is about to participate.
This scared me to death.
I had taken acting classes as an undergrad at the University of Detroit, and improvisational scenes were part of the class requirement. Years later after I moved to Fredericksburg, I performed in Annie, and Oliver! Both musicals were produced by Stagedoor Productions who awarded me first place in their second annual playwrights festival, for a comedy called The Eclipse.
After four weeks of rehearsal, my role as Lady Penelope Stafford, Host Noble, fit like a glove. I can hardly relate how much fun I had. Surprising myself, I concocted a charge against Baroness Hunsdon (who called me her best friend) for sending me on a wild goose chase in a segment called “The Court of Common Pleas.” She plead guilty, after many histrionics. I was asked what kind of punishment would satisfy me. Well, I had Lady B apologize while she danced a gig. The Baroness outdid herself. It was hilarious.
In the photograph above, I’m wearing gloves on that very hot day because I had on red fingernail polish. An oversight, I had neglected to remember that by the end of the week, I would be “living” at the Faire in the 16th century. Huzzah!