“That is Halloween! That is Halloween! All people ready for the subsequent shock!” – from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas
Autumn is lastly within the air! The crisp fall breezes and brightly coloured leaves on the timber imply extra than simply pumpkin spice lattes and corn mazes to our household. Certain, our theatrically inclined family loves dressing up on the thirty first. We enhance the home with spooky creatures and ensure to incorporate a teal-colored pumpkin on the porch to point that we have now non-candy ‘prizes’ for anybody with meals allergic reactions. Pumpkin carving and hay rides are additionally on the schedule, however, most significantly, autumn signifies a return to the Renaissance Pageant!
Renn Fest, as we name it, may be very particular to us for a lot of causes, and never simply because that was my first foray into the performing arts. The Maryland Renaissance Pageant is the place Russ, my husband, and I met. We have been each ready for mates who by no means confirmed up so we ended up spending the day collectively. Now, years later, we nonetheless go each fall to see some enjoyable reveals and take heed to nice music. It is likely one of the locations our eldest daughter, Liz (our daughter who recently died), liked to work. There’s even a small memorial in her honor within the sales space the place her greatest pal and our competition “household” nonetheless work. It’s also the place Russ discovered easy methods to play Maryland’s state sport: jousting.
This 12 months, Russ is part of the competition forged, which means he attire up in his Sixteenth-century most interesting to play another person: a Landsknecht guard who protects the king. The truth is, he was truly requested by the king himself to take this function. He didn’t even audition, within the conventional sense, simply answered some questions and acquired a number of endorsements from present Renn Fest workers. I’ve to inform you, I used to be fairly nervous he wouldn’t be capable of deal with it. It’s one factor to joust or work a sales space, with the all-day safety of a fence or a strategy to squirrel away backstage. However he’s doing “avenue work” all day – out within the midst of a whole bunch of individuals, all clamoring to see the king, whom he’s defending. Fairly surprisingly, his nervousness at Renn Fest all however disappears. Maybe as a result of he’s in character and never himself, he doesn’t have his typical aversions to crowded areas. He occurs to be taking part in a royal guard so his a few years of precise U.S. Air Pressure private safety coaching might quell his nerves. On this function he’s actually in a position to have enjoyable. He spends a full day among the many patrons and, to date, has reported solely a few triggered moments when viewers members in a big crowd wished to get somewhat too near the royalty — the actors portraying the king and queen. However once more, since he was in character and costume, he was in a position to play off his hypervigilance as a protector, and in a single occasion, was in a position to alert safety to have the very inebriated and disruptive patron faraway from the competition grounds.
Russ’s calm demeanor is a totally totally different expertise than, say, spending the day in a busy museum. I’ve been making an attempt to think about all of the methods wherein performing helps his psychological state and I haven’t nailed it down simply but. Is it that he’s doing one thing that we’ve loved doing collectively for years? Is it that he has mates and help in place all through the competition grounds? Possibly it’s that he has backstage areas to relaxation and take a break from the crowds when wanted. May or not it’s his fabulous outfit that was hand-made — by me — coated in pearls and embroidery that helps him painting his character? Maybe it’s the routine construction of the day — there’s a set schedule of reveals he should take part in every day so he is aware of what to anticipate. Possibly it’s as a result of his character wears weapons (stage or blunted swords) so he feels protected despite the fact that they’re props. On the finish of the day, I don’t actually care why it really works for him, I’m simply glad it does! He’s having a good time exterior, with mates and strangers, difficult his nervousness and isolating tendencies he would usually have because of his post-traumatic stress dysfunction.
Renaissance Festivals are most assuredly an escape from actuality, and truthfully, with at the moment’s information, all of us might use somewhat escape. We’re transported again to a different time, one other lifestyle. It’s a place the place creativity shines, from the artisans and distributors promoting handmade items to the costumes folks create, curate, and put on. And what wonderful costumes there are! I do know individuals who spend the entire 12 months constructing their costumes for every honest. Renn Fest is a spot the place we will see outdated mates — or our once-a-year mates — as most of the artists journey to varied gala’s as their technique of employment. We are able to additionally go to with our native mates who come to see Russ in character. It doesn’t matter what, Renn Fest will at all times maintain a particular place in our hearts. I hope Russ continues to flourish as an actor, despite the fact that he by no means actually indicated any want to be one, and problem his nervousness.