ptpgrad: (stupina)
[personal profile] ptpgrad
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. Well it was the official 40th anniversary weekend for MDRF. There was much going on and some heat and dust, so there will be a myriad of things forgotten or missing, out of order or misremembered. Caveats accepted, here is how it went down…

So this weekend I was changing characters. I had been asked to bring back Stupina for the 40th anniversary weekend and recreate the Girlie Girl Show. I had already run the show to make sure I could do it back on that day when it was around 199 with the heat index, so I knew that no matter what was thrown at me weather-wise, I should be ok…except for rain. I really didn’t want rain as that can make Stupina’s face melt. The weather went from rain on Saturday, to all day Sunday to maybe over night to Sunday afternoon to maybe Monday to…you get the idea. I had no idea what the actual weekend would bring. On Friday, I do my load in with some changes. I removed Mustardseed’s costume and other accouterments and place Stupina’s mask and a few props in that space, then I head to Gatehouse to load in my props. The space is rather full so I find a spot to squeeze in, but no hooks for my sign and hoop skirt. I also see that the sign has broken, so I pull out my fixative, repair it, and leave it flat to cure overnight…hopefully. Once everything is loaded in, I head back to finish working for the night. I get to sleep at a decent time and prepare for the day ahead.

I get up and hit my snooze button once. I rarely do that on a fest day, but I know that she doesn’t take as long to get ready. I hit a different place for brekkies on the way since it doesn’t open till 7 and I am usually past it by then. Once on site, I head in and get to my stage. I had brought in my yoga mat to site, but it’s locked up on the stage. I figure that I will to the other parts of my prep and do extra physical once it’s available. I pull out the bench and set up to do my hair and makeup. This means, I do Columbina’s hair early and only brighten up and line my eyes. While Mustardseed can take 30 minutes for hair and makeup, I am done in 10. Yeah, I remember these days. Then I start my vocal warm up. Richard Southwell arrives and I go to check for my mat, but its still locked up. I start some basic stretches, and shortly after 8, the doors are opened and I can pull the matt out. It’s odd to be barefoot with the mat down, but I get a few deeper stretches in as Stupina is all about the physical and it’s been years since she’s been around. I am done early and head down the hill

I head into the costume house and start to get changed. A few people comment on the different hair and face asking “oh, is this the Stupina weekend”. YAYEEE! I am dressed within 10 minutes and out. Yeah, I miss these days in some ways. I head outside and help run some music. My patterning is off for some of the songs and I get some advice, but am still not tracking well. I figure when my brain has time to reset, I will be fine. I run a song with two ladies and they seem to be ok with the adjustments we made. I fill my two-ended bota and head up the hill with my face in hand. I am paranoid (as I didn’t bring the rain face) that nothing happen to her, like someone sitting on her unexpectedly. I get to morning meeting early. DadNewGuy says he protected my spot for me. I smile. I see Anne Boleyn and run to her before we start to do some evile planning with her. Meeting goes well and we BEEP before we go out. I am noticing how many of my patterns have to change. While the bota is good for allowing me to drink, I can’t drink as deeply as from a cup, so I am being careful to try to drink as much as I can before I open. I hit the privies for perhaps the 3rd time that morning, and then really get to stretch a little.

Today I have to time “facing up” so I am set at the start, but not too much before the gates open. I take my last gulps from the bota and as the horses enter with nobility, I hand the tankard to Knuckles and climb up with my sign. Boom and we begin. The crowd starts to flow in. I have my Free Hugs sign over my head and the line starts to build. The first hugs are from complete strangers…teens mostly, some kids, a few elderly and some moms. On rare occasions I get a dad or other random adult male, but it’s not often. Younger guys are much more friendly. At one point, I have so many people coming up to me one after the other, that Johnny Armstrong comments “do you know EVERYONE visiting this village?” Um, yup, today I do. He comments that he needs a sign that says “Free Scowls” and threatens everyone to not hug him…which I then do. If you’ve seen the pictures, you can see how well he enjoyed it. We do a tour, the first one I have been able to use the words in and get my final catch joke (well, Dinty’s) in years. I also see a gent who just recently met Mustardseed and Columbina, but never “me” and say hello calling him by name. He looks a bit shell-shocked but says he will come to my girlie girl show, as he isn’t quite sure who I am yet.

Once the first rush dies down, I go and gather some programs and head outside with two stacks. I am finding that my hair must be bulkier or not laying the way it used to, because the programs are having a much harder time balancing. I can’t find the flat central point I had in years past. I am frustrated, but do ok, just with more drops than I would like. Once those are done, I head inside. I walk up to patrons and just short of put my head on their shoulders to ask them questions. I am having a lot of fun being able to use my full voice and words. I am having issues with the fit of the face. It’s been a month and years before that, so my upper lip is cramping a bit and the mask isn’t staying still on the top of my face, so I am trying to find ways to adjust it without putting my hands on it to adjust it, which is a cardinal faux pas in commedia and mask training. It’s getting close to 11, so I head backstage to move my props. Once backstage, I realize that I forgot to do one stretch and flip my legs over my head for a few moments to make sure I am ok for the show. Imogen checks in with me before she heads out to the stage. The show before me finishes and SMLiz helps me by placing the one bench while I place my sign and baby bench.

The audience today is mostly people who were loyal Teatro fans over the years. They know what to do in the quick preshow and begin to cheer each time I enter the stage, even to the point when just my foot, hand or butt sticks out. I head backstage to formally start the show. I head up the stairs and do the one little ritual I have for this show, then enter through the curtain and begin. The audience are such regulars that for the first time every, they are in complete unison before I even ask them. It was rather amusing and I adjust to account for their skill. The show is fun, although the sign does re-break and the hoop is coming out. I comment that it was a used kit, which gets a laugh. Imogen is sweet and helpful and walks with me to get the hoop skirt. I do feel the age in my knees when I can’t do the under the hoop bouncing that I used to. I realize that the audience probably can’t even tell, but I notice the difference. The crowd is cheering everything I do, no matter what it is. It’s hysterical. I even see a Wiggles join the crowd to meet Stupina for the first time. The guy from the audience is very fun and playful and once the show is over, I go and grab him a Stupina t-shirt as a thank you. The audience was amazing and thank you to everyone who came and participated. It was a blast.

I go to start to clear the stage and some of the audience is coming up on the stage to chat with me. I tell them to let me clear and I will head out to them afterwards. I let Topsy Turvy know they stage is theirs as I pull the last sign. I am more winded than I used to be for the show, but that is my own fault. I head out and one of the ladies asks to purchase a t-shirt. With that, my last available 2x was gone and I am down to Ls. Once I chat and send them on their way, I head backstage to peel off the face and cool down a bit while I repack my props. I return the Free hugs sign to its spot as well. Then, I grab Mr. Pig and we head out into the village.

Now normally, I would get my lunch and have a brief lunch before my second show, but today, there is no second show and you do NOT want to see me eat in that mask, so instead, I wandered about to see what I could see. I forgot exactly how freeing the mask can be. With Mustardseed there is a language barrier and with Columbina, there are far too many filters in her personality, but Stupina doesn’t have them. I chatted with everyone and anyone. I see Wiggles and she tells me I’m funny. High praise indeed. I asked people what they were looking at, dusted or cleaned them off. I stop at my tree at O’Shucks and sit for a brief while to sing at strangers and wave. I ask someone for the time and they tell me it’s 9 of 12. Oh no! I have a very important appointment to keep and I head over to the Fairy pond.

So, many years ago, when Ann was queen, I had a bota that was the same color as her French hood. I pretended to be her telling people not to bow to me. This time, Anne is only a lady, but I have an evile plan. I arrived early and play with some patrons in the area, one of whom is looking at Mr. Pig with evil intent. Anyone who calls him Pork Chop needs to be kept at bay. Soon enough, the real Anne arrives at the Kissing Bridge in a fret. I stop to loudly ask her what is wrong. She tells me that the King has asked to meet her privately and she is nervous. She needs a chaperone. I offer Mr. Pig, but a patron says his eyes are crossed and he can’t see her well enough to protect her. I then tell her I can do even better. Look, with this bota bag, I look just like you. “The resemblance is frightening” she says and is not incorrect. Once she agrees, she tries to teach me some French, which I fail at, though I can say Ooh la la. We get the crowd to agree to keep an eye out for the king and if he asks to agree I am Anne. Soon enough, they see him and warn us. She hides on the kissing bridge after lending me her red handkerchief and I prepare. When His Maj arrives, he immediately says hello to me as Stupina, but I correct him and say I am Anne Boleyn to which the crowd agrees. He goes along for a moment then asks me who is hiding on the bridge. I hold up the handkerchief and tell him to pay no attention to the person hiding behind the curtain. Finally, I have to admit to Anne that the jig is up and I was just not believable enough as Anne. They continue their scene as Mr. Pig keeps a watchful eye. At the end of the transaction, he calls me to depart with him. There is much laughter and away I go…for a few steps, then we each have to go our separate ways.

I now have time to play till around 1 pm. I head back up Kenwood and run into new faces and old friends. I am gifted with a very special coin made for me which I save…next I head toward my tree and sit at the base. I slouch. This is a big thing as I have not slouched and leaned against a tree in a very long time. I sing about the people passing me, I say hello to everyone passing by. I slowly start to wander back through the village having Mr. Pig shake hands. Letting him know that the evile people who don’t shake his hand just hate him, and other random comments. I even clean off dust from a few patrons, ask them what my name is, and try to change names with kids and other stillness. I try to stop for water when there is time.

So right before I leave my tree, I find a curved stick to take about. I find it balances on my nose. After a little bit of walking, I ask a passing stranger, in all sincerity requesting his honest opinion, “ Does this stick make me look fat?” Most people laugh and tell me no. Around O’Shuck’s a woman tells me that everyone else must have been lying and it really does make me look fat. Others then tell me no, it doesn’t. One person tells me the stick doesn’t make me look fat, insinuating that I shouldn’t blame the stick for my own weaknesses. It's lovely to see how eager people are to helping me before I ask them my question, but they all reply. I find myself in the streets near the queen’s path when I find out it’s past the normal time for me to head backstage. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to time this and, while I expect to take less time, am not positive how long this will take, so I head back and start the transition.

So normally, I would eat around 11:45, but today, I haven’t started eating yet and it’s closer to 1. I am doing ok though and begin the switch. It is going rather easily as I don’t have to clear my face back to basics, just add Columbina’s face. While there, I am informed that two of our fearless leaders had to leave for various ailments. One may need my help in covering, so I save that info and know I may need to do a short show. Even changing costume is simpler and I find myself completely changed with time to spare. I misread it and think I am late, but when I get to street, I realize I am out a huge chunk of time earlier. I have promised to some that I would watch some of the StreetSpeare’s today, so I see a completely new one near O’Shuck’s and then one I directed in the Wine Garden. On the way up the hill, I stop for a pickle, as I am hungry and wanted something both wet and cool. I finish before they arrive and sit with some patrons and then the little one who takes part in the show. They have adjusted to the space quite well and I am rather pleased with how they do, even with the smaller crowd. After the show, I head down Kenwood toward the Boars Head calling hello to Bright Eyes on the way as I pass. I am now running a little late and begin to immediately set up. Luckily, there aren’t many kids in the audience so when I am set, I am able to go. Unfortunately, the show that is ahead of me runs a little long and I have to wait until they say the show is done before I start up. I am panicking a little because of the time issues, but figure I can make things up by using the shorter songs. It’s not my first choice, but if I run just a trifle over, the next act starts playing while I am still on stage, and that’s worse.

The show itself goes well with a large crowd, a number of who inform me that I have been on their list since they saw me the last time they came. It’s quite a compliment to be anyone’s “must see” show and I thank him or her heartily. I go with a few shorter songs and am sad as the gent with me is fun and I have to give him the shorter song. He seems to have fun and the audience seems amused. Once the show is over, I borrow a regular to un-mic me and hurry toward Gatehouse. They have already started. I stop at the costume rental booth and am informed that all has been taken care of, so I stay and watch the first scene. When it seems they are going well, I drop off my props backstage then head into the village.

A number of people have been complimenting the outfit today. It’s probably my favorite in color, but you never know what people will respond to. I have some time so I stop at a table down the hill from O’Shucks, then to the tables up the hill from White hart. I gather my props from the White Hart, and then head toward the food court on my walk to Argenti’s area. I chat with some patrons having a snack. They appear to be eating their way around the village and having a great time of it. After some conversation, I continue on my path and drop off the bag before heading to hawk. I am having issues getting the sign into the ground and one patron offers to hold it. I let her and when I turn back, it looks broken. Turns out it is two pieces and she just separated them. We start the scene and develop a decent crowd knowing we are performing that most famous of all Shakespeare’s plays…Pericles. I know. I know. But I never tire of saying it. Midway through the scene, I circle around and relieve her of the sign and put it back together. At the end, people come up to be stamped. One of those getting stamped is the young lady, who is getting her last StreetSpeare stamp at our show. I happily complete her card for her.

I check in with Argenti to see when they expect to have my piece ready. It will be a few more weeks, but it should be worth the wait. I take the sign and other items back to the White Hart. On the way, I stop by the tables and this time, I see the same family I chatted with, still there and now being handed a ticket from Harry for not eating food on a stick. I find other tables and chat again. I have some more time, so after dropping of the sign and bag, I head over to get a frozen banana. The cool is soothing and the banana is good for me. The rest is just for entertainment. I head back near O’Shucks and meet a sweet little boy who can’t stop looking at my necklace asking me if they are real stones and lost in the sparkle. I name off all the stones I am wearing, but the necklace is to what he is most drawn. Nearby I see a friendly face that is rarely able to visit anymore. I give him a huge hug. Then what I know he really wants. I begin counting for him. I count slowly as it makes him all googly and giggly. Finally, I reach the pinnacle and he is joyously happy. I laugh. I am informed he may be visiting more weekends this season. I plan on brushing up my numbers for him.

It’s that time, so I make my way back to the White Hart after getting some water from the booth nearby. I head to the closet and go to get the bodhran and tambourine, but can’t reach the shelves due to the huge plethora of cases and instruments that have been set in the way. I manage to be able to reach over and far enough to get the case of the bodhran and the tambourine comes along for the ride. I head to the far side to visit with the other gathering performers as we wait to see who has won the bog. Once they proclaim a winner, they get ready to head out as we head into the stage and begin to set up. Some very stick materials have been spilled and we are frantically trying to clean up the stools and surfaces before the show starts so no unsuspecting actor sit their costume onto a sticky surface. There are some pints left behind which are now proclaimed trash but a frustrated gent and we don’t cross his opinion. Most of this is happening in the hubbub in the change and the audience has no idea there are some minor kinks being addressed. The show starts and is fun and festive.

We are starting to repeat enough music that I am not frantically remembering items for each show. This is good as we can just focus on synching with each other. Today I have a bunch of the men help roll me over…in the clover of course. I am able to back up some songs and play a bit as everyone performs. The show is high energy and fun, the crowd is full and playful. There is some fun that those in the back of the house can’t see when a waltz is sung and everyone is dancing in the back of the house. It’s rather sweet to watch. The show ends well and we clear the stage as quickly as possible. I go to put my items back where they live and again have to balance and partially toss the items back (just the tambourine luckily). Blargh. Ok, then I begin my slow walk to the front of the village.

I stop at the tables in O'Shucks toward the end of the day. Each stop I make brings me closer to the gate and I chat with the patrons, find out about their day or make them laugh a little bit more. It’s a nice quiet way to end the day. Each table I stop at leads me closer to the front gate. Eventually, I manage to get to the fountain with a few minutes left. I climb up with Knuckles and Nymblwyck to say goodbye and pose for a few goodbye pics with kids, families and others. I look up into the trees and see my favorite time of day. The light hits the tall trees with an orange golden glow. I show Knuckles. We see a few parents with babies approaching and warn them to cover their kids’ ears so they don’t wake up from the boom. They are grateful once they hear the cannon. Then, the day is over and I wander back through the village to find my way home. Backstage, there are plans to celebrate the Anniversary. I had learned earlier that week that the foods they would have available were not items I could partake of, so I really needed to eat first. I find a few others who either would not have gone, or just needed to eat somewhere quiet and we head off for some pizza (GF for me). The company is good and we manage to get the yogurt we missed out on before. This was not a good thing for Constance as her yogurt frightened most of those in our gathering and each time she ate a bite, she made more faces, much to our amusement. Once we were done, I was so exhausted I simply couldn't manage to head back to join the party and wended my sleepy way home. I was sorry to not be there, but life and limitations can get to us all.

It's a quiet and sleepy morning, but up I go and head to site. Again, I could sleep a bit more, but I’d rather make sure I’m ready for the day. I stop for brekkies and then head in toward site. I get to my stage and again, start with hair and makeup, which is done, even with having to redo it once, very quickly. I do an extended breathing and vocal warm up, and then get my mat and stretch. I am learning I don’t need the mat, but it’s nice to have. Richard joins me for a bit, and then I am ready to head down the hill once I have set my props for the show. I am in, changed, and out quickly again. I am debating which props to bring out. I pull out the barrel of steel monkeys and leave them backstage with my show props. I run one song with some ladies and part of a second song with another lady, and then head up the hill ready for the morning meeting. It’s a bit warmer today and the promise of rain has gone away, making the site dustier than one might like, especially with me, as I can’t close my mouth and rarely drink enough. I flip my legs over my head on Lyric to make sure I am ready for the day.

We go over notes for the day with a different arrangement of faces on the stage. There are well wishes to those ill and I am reminded of how well oiled we are as a unit. When one of our own is unable to perform, the entirety of this village pulls together to fill in the gaps and make the show as perfect as possible for anyone walking through the gate that morning. It makes me proud to be part of this little family. Once what we need to know has been shared, we BEEP and head out into the village to prep. I head backstage at Gatehouse to get my sign, hit the privy, and then head over to lie down and stretch once more. I am loving this. I open the bota and guzzle a bit more water in advance of the day, pull out the lozenge and once the horses’ riders have dismounted, I climb up and take my spot for the new day.

Again I receive hugs from strangers. Sadly, Johnny did not bring the “Free Scowls” sign he was planning on holding next to my sign. It would have amused me. I say a few goodbyes’s as people enter, but most of my time is hugging people and trying not to beam them with the large wood sign I am holding. The audience is very light as the heat is starting to creep up again. I get down and grab 3 stacks of programs. I head outside and balance them. The top of my head is better today and the programs don’t fall as much, but it’s not as smooth as I would like. Also, with the influx of traffic being so slow, I am finding that the programs are not disappearing as quickly as they had. I am starting to get nervous that I won’t get through them all in time for me to get to my show. Luckily, enough people come by and eventually all the stacks are gone. I head inside and have a moment to circle the fountain and chat with patrons about the shows they want to see and what the day holds for them. After that, I head backstage and pull out the props, pull off the face for a moment to cool down and drink some more water, then once the other actors are clear, I set the props and, faced up, head back to the stage.

The audience today has very few regulars and mostly people who have never seen me before.and mostly adults. Once the show starts, they are really getting the jokes. Today’s reader is Mayor Mondes, who is quite the politician. Not as mean as Southwell had been, but not Stupina’s friend either. It adds a nice bit of conflict. Toward the end of the show, I ask the gent on stage with me (Bob) to say something funny. When he responds with “your face” I start to get leery and wonder if I am going to have to rely on the mayor to save the day at the end. Luckily, he says I don’t need anything else, but he takes my tiara and puts it on his head. At the end, I rush backstage and bring him a T-shirt explaining I wanted my hat back. The audience ends happily and with a bow, Stupina is done with the stage for this year.

That doesn’t mean she is done for the day though; however, after I clear the stage, I need a moment to repack the props so they are out of the way and peel away the face to cool down. One of the gents from Nature of Mercy sees me and asks me if I am drinking enough water explaining my face is very red. I let him know I just left the stage with the mask and am drinking now to cool down a bit before I head out. People don’t realize how
Makeup makes my face tone look normal. Without it I am bright red person post show. Because of its weight, I have decided to keep the barrel of monkeys backstage for now. After a few moments, I hood back up and at the entrance to site, go faces up then hit the streets.

Today, I have other things I need to see, since it will be my only chance. I head down the village chatting with patrons along the way... I can’t help myself. Stupina is a friendly sort. Once I get to the hill near White Hart, I see the Yaxleys. Imogen asks if I am there to watch the tug of war and I sit to do so. Madge gives me her cup to watch…which I do….but it isn’t doing anything. I ask the guy sitting on the bench next to where I am sitting on the ground what he thinks it might do. He has no idea, so I keep watching it; however, it’s a challenge as I am hoping to see some of the tug. The ladies are both trying to control the outcomes and there is much amusement, but not much tugging in the end. Madge and Constance are left playing with two little girls who are cleaning the rope and I really want them to make a jump rope out of it, cause that would be so cool if it wasn’t dusty. Up I go and head toward the Globe.

I won’t ever get to see Fightasia, so I meander that way to see what it’s about. I am surprised to find it not really funny at all. There are amusing moments, but it is really a serious piece about war and fighting and what is it all about anyway. I am a bit teary watching the last few moments. Ambrose Hobbs, who is standing in the back with me tells me its one of his favorite shows. I scowl at the “adults” next to me who are loudly saying they want to go and this show isn’t fun. Well, you can leave quietly or wait 2 minutes and be kind to your friends….grrr. Stupina just throws up her leg and hangs out refocusing on the stage. Once the show is over, I head back toward Reveler’s Bower and grovel to the ladies there. I then meet up with more villagers and Ambrose and I have a bit of fun in the streets, but I meander away as the topics move beyond anything I can do.

As I come up near the face painters, I see the queen eating her lunch. This morning, she voiced concern that she wouldn't know how to deal with Stupina and I explained that you treat her as you would either a 3-year old, or a puppy. She takes this to heart and as I grovel to her, she learns you cannot simply ask me to rise (a few court members learned that the hard way today). Eventually, I am able to stand normally and she asks me about my day. She has been coughing with the dust and I find a lozenge for her, which I share. She is grateful. I head up behind the white Hart and grab a seat near my tree…well, pretty much ON the tree. I am doing a full on lay about slouch and it feels wonderful. I sing to a few people and again see how much the filter isn’t working anymore. A more innocent Hermit, if you will. I begin to head back to the front of the village. On the way, I get permission to rub the head of one of the undercover security guys. He has no idea who I am, which makes it more amusing.

I chat with people as they come up or I wander by. There is no stick today, but I do dust and clean people. I see my rarely visiting friend and he hugs me happy to see Stupina for the first time in many years. He is such a charming flirt to her. Farther down, I get closer to the front of the festival. I give directions easily. The sunspots are really starting to get unpleasant without shade. Not as bad as the prior weekends, but still not fun. I try to trade names with a few more pretty girls, but to no avail. I see friendly faces, who welcome me back. Finally, it’s time for me to go home once more. Once I leave street, I take one look back and let Stupina say goodbye for this season.

Backstage, I am beginning my transition to Columbina. Again, even with the heat, the transition is quicker and simpler. I am starting to get hungry because of the time delay in my meal, so after the transition is done and I am mic’d up, I head to the Steak on a Stake booth for my meat for the year. Sadly, the gent I was hoping to see is not around, but his replacement takes care of me well enough. I chat with some patrons as I eat then head down the sun bowl for my show. I get set up and notice the afternoon sun is encroaching on the stage. It’s warm enough that I don’t need any extra heat on me. I get to the stage and begin to reset the mics. I don’t have to set them for anyone but myself, so I happily can clear the stage and chat with patrons. There is a couple near the front of the stage that are bringing his mom and dad to festival for the first time. They hint that if I would be able to play with his day, it would be a great thing. I continue to wander and find people to be playful with. There are a few parents with kids and I give them the heads up. Others tell me they have come for the show, or once I mention that there will be naughty songs, they decide to stay. I head to the stage to check my final details and the act before me ends exactly on time. I am able to start and entertain the crowd. For the first song, I have enough men for me to save the Dad and when I see him laughing and enjoying the show, I happily choose him as my client. He is playful and a bit strong. When he goes to pump away on my shoulder, he almost knocks me over with the force. I adjust how I bump into him so I can keep singing without loosing too much air on the impacts. I suddenly feel like I am in a rugby match.

I gather my props and begin to head toward the White Hart. On the way, I stop and get a frozen banana to eat. Then I wander by the Fruit stand and tell the gent there that he saw me yesterday. He has no idea what I mean. I mention the little creature in the mask in all white and says “yes, she was here”…I know…it takes a moment, but it finally dawns on him that she and I are the same. In all these years, he had no idea. These things make me happy. He was impressed that I didn’t break character. I am also visited by BullseyePhil who gifts me with some chilled water for which I am grateful. In return, I gift him with a bite of banana, which he also likes. After some more chatting with the gents and a kind lady, I head down the path to put down my props and get the StreetSspeare items.

There is plenty of room to put down our things today and I can easily get to the StreetSpeare props. I slowly walk them down past the food court to Kenwood. Along the way, I stop at tables and pick a few groups to chat with. We have a nice time as I tell them about the entertainments and how as a courtesan has many skills besides the obvious. They are impressed at the Shakespeare and I invite them to find the entertainment amongst the street. I head on my way saying hello to bright eyes and crew. As I get to the performance place, I see my cast chatting with some locals. I let them know how lucky they are to see this most famous of all Shakespeare’s plays…Pericles. They are amused. I convince one of them to hold the sign as it seems to be permanently unscrewed now and not fixable. There is laughter and through our silliness, we convince them to stay. The show has a decent sized crowd for today as most shows don’t seem to have much street audience today. Our audience builds and makes a decent circle around. At the end of the show, I stamp a few cards and after I pack up and head down the street, I run into the gents. Turns out a few of them have been thinking about auditioning. I ask them why they have not. They seem to have their interest piqued and perhaps will try to find their way to join us in future years.

I put a way the props and get a water refill, then hit the benches and tables up from White Hart. I see the people who perform before me and they ask if things were more on schedule today. I inform them that they were exactly on time, which pleases them. I help them hide a cup and plate that are not quite wooden as some patrons ask for portraits. I head down the hill and sit with a group of 20 something’s. I am explaining what is going on in the court right now as well as a little of what I do. They ask me which wife Henry is married to. In my most shocked voice, I tell them he only ever had one wife…what could they possibly be insinuating. This is a good catholic nation, etc……As I am explaining the world of what I do, we are joined by Violet, a stunning lady in purple who, keeping more in character, asks about what my life is like, how I am paid, etc. It’s a fascinating line between history, “fantasy” and real life. None completely there, but none completely gone either. As I finish my chat, it is time to head to the White Hart to grab my props after a brief moment checking on the men in blue, not in blue.

So It’s Caiohme’s birthday. Since she runs the pub sing-along, there is some amusement at the start where everyone slaps the Captain for breaking up with her on her birthday. It’s amusing. We spend the rest of the show cheering her up. My Spaniard, Carmita, gives her a rose to prove that not all Spaniards are jerks. Then, she, Judith Berners and myself sing Captain’s Daughter for the first time this season. Things that had seemed off kilter the other day are making more sense today for me. The show is fun with much dancing and well wishes for the birthday lady who leaves with a huge bouquet of red roses. The show is finding its niche and the performers are finding their home as well. It’s nice to see them blossoming. After the show, we pack up everything and I put the main props in the closet and head out.

I again begin to hit the tables on the way to the gate. Today, I find myself in a long conversation with a lady who is by herself waiting for friends. We talk about why I became a courtesan, why there are rings on all but one of my fingers and the man whose fault it is. I keep things brief, because who wants that much backstory, but she keeps asking for more details. I ask her about her world as well. It’s a quiet understated conversation about life that touches me in a quiet and deep way. There is a vulnerable side to the brusque control that is Columbina and this sweet woman found much of it in her this afternoon. We part ways and I find more tables to chat with in lighter energy. There is a group of 30 something’s now and they want to play, which I oblige and sing them a little bit of a song for their amusement. By the time I manage to get to the front gate to say goodbye, there are only a few moments left of the day. I wave goodbye, call to those who are not watching the finale and wish them well. The cannon booms that the 40th anniversary weekend has ended

I head backstage and clean up. Without Stitch about, everyone pitches in to make sure that what needs to happen does. There are plans for birthdays and bowling, but I am just exhausted from the day and know the bowling alley has food I can’t eat. I am one of the last ones out and once I am changed, I find a small group going out for a meal. The parking lot for dinner is packed and I can’t see the cut through to the second parking lot. I am having issues getting into a spot when a young lady offers to park for me stating she won’t judge. And If she does, will I help her with her knotted top that won’t come off. I allow her to help me and spend a few moments using my nails and crappy eyesight freeing her and fixing the top so it stays on properly. At dinner, we see the King’s Fool in another guise. It’s many hugs and conversation. Once all is said and done, I crawl back to my well-parked car and home for the end of the weekend.

We are back to m Mustardseed this weekend and the weather looks to be spectacular. I hope you will all join us in the Grove!

April 2017

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