Cast as a princess? Check
Costume designed? Check
Seamstress hired? Check. (For those of you who know I own 2 sewing machines, I quilt. It’s totally different than making a costume. I’m not that crazy.)
What’s next? Well, learning how to BE a princess in 1535 Canterbury, England, of course.
To start off with, the monthly rehearsals were held at a church building that is approximately 5 minutes from my house. In fact, it was held at the same church as the recruiting party. Considering that the festival site is around 45 minutes away, I consider that a major victory!
The first rehearsal weekend was fairly easy. We talked about costumes (which I had already designed), and the character survey (which I had already started), and we started our vocabulary lessons. We learned about festival survival, more vocabulary, and had our first improv lesson.
Vocabulary has been my main focus, really. The accent is part of the character, the experience yes, but the vocabulary seems to be more important. At least to first year performers like myself. (Also, if you slow your speech pattern down and elongate your vowels instead of squashing them flat like my southern accent, you tend to sound more British than normal to ordinary Midwestern patrons.)
I had to learn how to say hello (Good day!), and goodbye (Fare thee well!), and thank you (Gramercy). I have had to learn how to give everyone a title, even if it is as simple as Sir or Madam. I had to learn how to ask what time is it (how stands the hour?) and how to use different polite phrases, such as by your leave, and wouldst thou grant me a boon.
Festival survival is exactly what it sounds like. How to survive the festival, because let me tell you…. It’s HARD work. We talked sunscreen, bug spray, dehydration and electrolytes, shoes, gloves, and how to eat.
You have to remember that we try very hard to stay period appropriate. Plastic hadn’t been invented in 1535, so no plastic water bottles for me! I have a very beautiful silver goblet. And an okay wooden bowl and spoon for eating.
And as much as I listened and took notes, I still wasn’t prepared enough. I’m not sure anyone can be fully aware of just exactly what the need the first weekend until they have been through it a few times.
The second weekend was a bit more interesting. We started learning the songs that we sing. Of course, my sisters and I had already received our music that we were to start learning. But these songs are the ones that everyone sings at the closing gate.
There was also more vocabulary and improv exercises. And something called endowments. However, I’m not going to tell you about those, because it is something unique to the KC Ren Fest, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone who might decide to visit. 😉
Third weekend was more improv, more music, more vocab, a class called flirting and wooing, dance lessons for the town dance at closing gate, and how to care for your voice. I’m not sure I can explain Flirting and Wooing, other than it’s not what we think of as flirting today. It’s more along the lines of complimenting everyone you meet on some aspect, and be honest about it.
I could go on and on about rehearsals. We learned a lot of material in a relatively short amount of time. However, this post is already longer than I anticipated. And I don’t even have any pictures yet!
I’m adding some pictures from one of the rehearsals. These are not my own, but belong to our beloved queen. She loves taking pictures of the people she works with.