Dressing Up for Halloween is Not Only for Children – The Therapeutic Enjoyable of Renaissance Festivals

Dressing Up for Halloween is Not Only for Children – The Therapeutic Enjoyable of Renaissance Festivals

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“That is Halloween! That is Halloween! Everyone ready for the following 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 bushes 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 adorn the home with spooky creatures and ensure to incorporate a teal-colored pumpkin on the porch to point that we’ve non-candy ‘prizes’ for anybody with meals allergy symptoms. 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), cherished to work. There may be even a small memorial in her honor within the sales space the place her finest good friend and our pageant “household” nonetheless work. It is usually the place Russ realized how one can play Maryland’s state sport: jousting.

This yr, Russ is part of the pageant forged, that means he clothes up in his Sixteenth-century best to play another person: a Landsknecht guard who protects the king. In actual fact, he was really requested by the king himself to take this function. He didn’t even audition, within the conventional sense, simply answered some questions and obtained a number of endorsements from present Renn Fest workers. I’ve to inform you, I used to be fairly nervous he wouldn’t have the ability to deal with it. It’s one factor to joust or work a sales space, with the all-day safety of a fence or a approach to squirrel away backstage. However he’s doing “avenue work” all day – out within the midst of lots of 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 capable of have enjoyable. He spends a full day among the many patrons and, to this point, has reported solely a few triggered moments when viewers members in a big crowd needed to get just a little too near the royalty — the actors portraying the king and queen. However once more, since he was in character and costume, he was capable of play off his hypervigilance as a protector, and in a single occasion, was capable of alert safety to have the very inebriated and disruptive patron faraway from the pageant grounds. 

Russ’s calm demeanor is a totally completely different expertise than, say, spending the day in a busy museum. I’ve been making an attempt to think about all of the methods by which appearing 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 assist in place all through the pageant grounds? Perhaps 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. Perhaps it’s as a result of his character wears weapons (stage or blunted swords) so he feels protected although 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 outdoors, 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 right this moment’s information, all of us might use just a little 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 superb costumes there are! I do know individuals who spend the entire yr constructing their costumes for every truthful. Renn Fest is a spot the place we are able to see previous mates — or our once-a-year mates — as lots of the artists journey to numerous 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, although he by no means actually indicated any want to be one, and problem his nervousness.

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