Country Diary : Crows fly through branches of a tree

When we do the Wheaton Arts Fantasy faire in NJ, we often get together during the day with the Mystic Mercenaries Stage Combat Team and talk shop. We have a lot of fun and turn one another onto sources, video, show off new equipment and talk about our current projects. We discussed how the economy hurt recruitment. I’ve been thinking about it for some time and decided to share my musings (sorry dear readers) about members and some of the things that will thin your ranks if you run a group.

Bad economy-this is fairly basic, no money, no gas, no costuming no free time. If people have to choose between making a living and coming to practice-we completely understand this. We’ve been known to offer some financial help to dedicated members. This has sometimes come back to bite us but you don’t know unless you try.

Laziness –once again, not really a stretch to figure this one out. For me it’s a bigger stretch to put myself in those sparkly slippers and think as others do. I am not sure what it is about people who want to join groups (of any kind really) and then think there will be basic expectation of working toward a common goal, expected tasks and services. Or that putting on a costume and strapping on a sword suddenly makes you A STAR! I’m sure there is someone out there who has successfully done this but they haven’t yet worked for me. So I would say the percentage is against you in never having to learn basic safety and how to be part of a team, and then get on stage.

College, not exactly under economy but it’s a killer. We’ve recruited A LOT of college students but rarely do they stay. On the plus side, once they hit late twenties, there is an uptick in recruitment. So academia results in both a high and low tide of numbers.

Sex and significant others. Never underestimate the power of the basic drive to procreate-we certainly don’t. This dynamic is like mud thrown through a screen door-it may not all get through, but chances are you’ll get a little on everyone. One of my hot buttons is partners of members who decide that they would like to run our troupe via a member’s nether bits. That is-they start applying pressure to the partner to force the troupe leader to accept ultimatums, make demands and essentially make life hellish for everyone. We had one member who had been with us from the beginning and he was very enthusiastic and well-liked. We had even survived him dating and breaking up within the troupe (oy!)

But he picked up one girlfriend (not in troupe) that decided she was going to drive him like a front-end loader over our set of rules and behavior using the stick shift. She gave him a set of demands he was to present to us just before a show. At the rehearsal he walked up, told us he needed to spread his wings and that we weren’t offering what he needed and he’d have to leave unless we made some changes. Imagine the sadness and his surprise when we accepted his resignation and wished him the best and that we totally understood. Then we went back to work as we left him standing there taking it all in and absorbing it. He didn’t stay to finish practice and from what we overheard as he and his girlfriend left, that wasn’t what she expected either. Over the years I’ve had a chance to observe that “driver” follows a pattern and you’d think she’d learn that one never gets actual personal power via others.

More insidious is a strange type of foreplay that involves unwitting participants-that is, one person who dresses in costume, takes on a persona and a sword against a backdrop of others supporting the role of pirate, swordfighter, paladin what have you. This adds a layer of sexy and the Significant Other gets to enjoy some role-play. Great. But then the fact that sexy troupe member is now accepted and works with other sexy troupe members sets up a dissonance-they love that their partner does this but RESENT the organization for not keeping the mental game to the minimum two players. The rest of the troupe moves from backdrop to threat. That stuff makes my right temple pulse and twitch.

As years pass, my tolerance has gone to nil for this. When the female half of a couple joined and her husband came to practice, I had no issue. But after the third practice I had some plain words that boiled down to ‘join or don’t be here as a distraction.’ Pleasant surprise-he joined. A more common response is that we never see the troupe member again. Sad as we are, we have headed off a long-term problem. And this plays out over, and over and over.

Babies. Seriously, who can compete with babies? (Note: babies have decimated our numbers this year)
Favoritism, guilty as charged. Do a lot for the troupe; we’ll do a lot for you. Do not badmouth us or try to guilt, blackmail us or whine. We’ll bend over backwards to help people achieve what they need but we are not interested in being bent over against our will. I’ll let Queen Latifah speak for us

I can do it better-not a surprise to hear. As many faire craftspersons can tell you, they hear it often. So I take a line from them-“By all means and good luck.” Producing art is harder than it sounds.

And the last, just done. For sword work and fire, it can be grueling and some folks have other things they would like to do. As I like to joke
“What!? Something else to suck away my time and money?!”
We have reenactors who have other gigs, LARPers who have events, people who have long drives and/or kids and plenty of other activities that don’t involve hauling equipment or being bitten by mosquitoes. And if folks are done, they are done. Even I feel done with it at times-and we run the darn thing!

Our long-term plan, which we only half-joked about the week we formed Phoenix Swords, is that as long as my partner and I can still move, enjoy and entertain, it can be just the two of us out of the trunk. This takes the pressure off everyone else. And some years, we do kind of eye one another and cross our fingers that we have enough to keep going. But even with these pitfalls, if you have a fire, a plan and keep growing yourself and what you do-your energy will attract others.

Performance has scary consequences. Although this is about street magicians, I thought you would appreciate some of the insights:

http://www.cracked.com/article_21291_5-dark-sides-hidden-dangers-life-as-street-magician.html

Human buried in papersAs a performer and a troupe leader, I try to make it a point to remember how it felt when we first started and do my best not to backslide into bad habits or singing a little too shrilly for my proverbial supper. That is, if you don’t remember the past, you may be doomed to repeat it. We have made a space for ourselves that makes me happy even if not as busy as we’d like. In the spirit of that, I’d like to recall some mistakes we made in the past hoping it will help someone else.

Don’t work for free. Even if it is for tips, for busking rights, for advertisement, for a discounted cost. Occasionally, we will test an act at a troupe member or friend’s home or party-at least in exchange for food, a few beers and they critique our show. You are offering a service and should get recognition for that service. It’s one thing to be an indie band that needs to move from the garage to a friendly venue, to eventual paying gigs, another to be someone with a costume and a schtick. Bands do need to get better but the tinkering for an act is a different animal and doesn’t have the same set list and expectation every time. And organizers that like free acts can be a bit fly-by-night themselves, One notoriously bad job we did, most of the food vendors and some of the acts melted away when the police came for another matter, try not to find yourself working for those people.

Contracts and payment-we’ve done a number of spit-and-handshake deals but generally only with people we trust or know very well. In our state, emails can be produced as evidence of a contract in court. If you have an employer that dances around putting anything down in writing, signing paperwork or leaving a trail-be wary. Also, have a plan in place. We generally have a set of invoices we keep to email or printed so they may be filled out and signed. Some employers will try the old “Oh we don’t need anything.” And then try not to pay because you don’t have the proper paperwork. Be proactive and ready.

Have a pre-set contract of your own outlining everyone’s responsibility. (Go ahead and google acting contracts) We have found that school and town administrators are some of the worst at inadvertently or through cunning having inadequate guidelines in place. It’s one thing if you are a lane act that uses soft, plushy animals. For the rest of us, we need to make sure everyone understands that swords and fire can be dangerous and we will only be held liable for our own actions, not inappropriate venues or bad management.

Check local laws, we’ve had to turn down fire shows or had to jump through hoops to get a show to the stage. It has generally been problematic for us but a breeze for everyone who comes behind us. To that end we have a copy of the federal fire statutes that apply to us. Check with local fire and law, and generally have a working knowledge of the weapons definitions in an area. We call ourselves a sword and fire troupe but we call our equipment “props” which is so much nicer than ‘car full of blades and accelerants.’ And I have to say, please don’t be a douchebag, just be respectful and polite when asked about your act. We even have written descriptors and a stage plan-just do what you need to do and make it easier for yourself and other faire acts.

Have a plan B if the employer decides to pull a fast one. Our plan of action includes keeping a signed copy of the contract, sending items by registered mail and the name of a lawyer on our roster. We have only had to go to step three of this twice-in one case the money arrived FedEx the next day, in the other we were one of dozens of acts that went unpaid and the company is out of business. So sometimes even a contract and hired gunslingers won’t take care of everything.

Rubbing shoulders-be careful of your company. If you have a trouble-attractant as part of your group, well, that isn’t going to go away. If you have to fire or ban this person that doesn’t make you bad or evil, that makes you smart. You have not limited their choices-they have through their own actions. I despise ultimatums and can’t tell you how many things have been slung my way. Typically
“You are making me choose between [thing person claims to value] and the troupe!”
Nope, we have a set of rules, you knew what they were and we will do the math
Value to our group /= Histrionics.
So if they are awful people, they will be awful people to everyone-your employers, your customers, and they will hurt your reputation. This is true about who you have as “buddies.” It costs nothing to be nice to everyone but who you socialize with can send out a signal. Our group has a lot of different personalities and I’m not here to be the friend police. It works to our favor that some acts get along with some members and not others but no one would know because we aren’t jerks. But if I catching anyone “shopping” our troupe for vulnerable people, we’re done. You are not required to be buddy-buddy with those for whom you have no respect and who set off the “creepy” vibe.

In a future entry, I’ll talk about how sometimes, no matter what you do, it will all go wrong. Just have an escape plan and try to minimize pain and money loss. You are well within your rights to warn other acts about bad employers, just be tacit about how you spread that. And if someone is doing that to you, get a screenshot or proof, this impacts your business. I am happy to report anyone who is spreading untruth, misusing our image or just plain damaging our reputation to their Internet Service Provider, employer or others.

Sometimes you just have to take the chance. You will meet “quirky” employers who have a hard time filling contracts. We are fairly mercenary, we add a tax onto these people. One employer had a reputation of being a jerk and after we played chicken over a paycheck and we didn’t blink-well he was one of our best employers. And another who had an amazing reputation but we had to chase for our pay. We LOVE working for lawyers, they don’t take anything for granted and have some pretty jazzy contracts. With permission, we use a form that one gentleman created specifically for renfaire acts and it is four pages long and “Pirate Mayhem” is specifically written in and expected. DO follow-up and thank the people who hire you. We’ve been known to send booze, do reciprocal contracts and give group hugs, find your equilibrium.

It would be great if everyone was on the same page about ideas and end goal but we are all different people with different views. Sometimes it’s miscommunication, sometimes ignorance and sometimes it’s just plain being sneaky. The better you plan and ask questions, the better off you are. Things can still go askew but if you can get into a car and escape intact-all good. And maybe you’ll have some amazing cautionary tales of your own.

stabyou

I’ve mentioned it several times on this blog that Renfaires tend to have DRAMA. I can’t speak to how others deal with it but I am going to point out some of my own experiences and how I coped.

To begin, everyone has drama of some type or another, we are all living a Greek Tragedy and one has to equip coping mechanisms. At the faire this gets ramped up because it has been my experience that dramatics and performances attract dramatic people. I just wanted to justify owning and using a sword and that was my first experience with “FAIRE!!!” I did not do it to enhance my personal self-esteem, be an elitist, join the “faire family” or be a superstar. So this pretty much put me at odds with 90% of the faire community.

If it feels wrong, it is. I can’t recount the number of times someone dismissed my fears, bad feelings, misgivings or outright discomfort at some of the things going on around me. This ranged from rampaging sexism to illegal acts. You know what if you don’t like it-if you can’t speak out, relocate. This is direct from the How to Deal with Difficult People seminar. You might be accused of having an overactive bladder or worse, but you know what? You won’t be there (hopefully) when all those chickens of doom come home to roost.

What if you decide to make your line in the sand? Well, there is a price to be paid for that and sadly sometimes you don’t know someone is racking up those charges on your behalf (more on that later) but don’t compromise your internal integrity. I am not asking you to be the faire police (because that’s another end of the spectrum) but if someone does something you don’t like or feel is unjust, speak up. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many others will thank you for it. My own example comes from a couple that once joked
“For all I know you are those every-Sunday church people. Hurr, hurr.”
“We are”
Awkward silence.
But that set up a personal boundary that stopped a lot of unsavory behavior and the unrevealed Christian guy in the same organization thanked us and we didn’t have to explain or rationalize anything. Does this mean I judge?-Well I do but not because of religion but by how you treat other human beings. We have a big rainbow of background in our troupe and although everyone is doing their own thing, I think we’re all in line of the ethic of “don’t be a douchebag.” But it can cost you friends, associates and maybe even your position. But honestly, long-term, who wants to be part of a community who can’t be kind to one another? In our troupe, I personally try to make our tent/group a mini-refuge so that even if the outside circumstances are not great and it hits the fan, we can just come together and know we are safe with one another. (This can be hard when you get too many refugees at an event, but another blog post) It’s perfectly okay to say. “Don’t do that in front of or to me.” Or “That makes me uncomfortable.”

Stealth personal attacks. This is so very, very hard. When you are hit with the 2×4 of crazy-making it’s quite the experience. I have at least four friends who will never, ever work at a faire again and their current communities rejoice to have them. Their detractors did not gain one single thing by cutting these people down and it was like trying to harness stardust-they were left with a handful of glitter and the faires lost something wonderful. Their envy, spitefulness and deeds just put another dark place in the world and they gained NOTHING, not even bragging rights. In my own experience, I turned to my friends and husband and had to try and redirect my energy positively. To be honest, for a few years it was pretty much vented into revenge success-I’ll show them! It meant that I wasn’t actively swimming in negativity. (I was peeved for years, but I refused to give in to being like my attackers)

Here’s what I say about that:

  • It doesn’t matter why, it is about them, not you. (Seriously don’t try to figure out the why)
  • You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it.-Gustave Flaubert
  • It’s about your happiness, not theirs so they can suck it
  • Time will show who is who
  • Legal issues are best handled by the professionals (police, therapists, security)
  • If you are having personal problems over and over, maybe it isn’t other people.

More on that “maybe it is you.” I evoke a certain enmity in people-and my troupe fellows confirm it for me. We have a certain sub-contractor who could be in the middle of the Mohave desert, playing with his own toes and over the dunes, completely surprising us all, someone from a popular organization will challenge him to a duel. That’s not a personal failing, we’ve both just accepted it is “a thing.” And we do our best to diffuse it with a “whatever.” And do conflict avoidance. He drinks a lot of water, I suck on Altoids (Keeps my breath fresh and my mouth shut!) But if you don’t have long-term friends or people avoid you, or drama follows you like a second skin…you need to take steps to stop whatever you are doing that swirls that mess around and gets it other people. If you need to mutter a mantra or write a series of “computer voice” statements on a notecard or just picture Tahiti in your head-you do it. You and everyone around you will be thankful, long-term.

It’s just the festival and you can go home. It’s hard not to be personally invested and the experience is both better and worse if you are. If you aren’t feeling it, you’re probably not on fire as a performer either. But that fire is better spent on the people who love you, your passions, your accomplishments and personal improvement. If someone is awful to you, they have done you a favor, they have told you, straight up, that they are not worth your time. Move on from there.

Don’t join in. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a simple case of miscommunication or something even more miniscule turn into a mob-driven witch hunt. You can simply say
“I don’t have all the facts.”
And let it go. When the so-called saviors have burned everything to the ground and destroyed everything around them, often there is a tiny but significant
“Whoops!” In their wake.
I’m not saying you can’t have an opinion, but if you are not the impacted or involved party, then you are just an ass playing out some ego need. (Write that on your notecard, it’s important) Also, if you watched them turn on someone, next time that someone could be YOU, have fun storming the castle…

Don’t think they are playing chess when it is just whack-a-mole. Or as I like to write on my notecard ”do not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.” People are dumb animals, they get bitten by a fly and kick their neighbors-just like a mule-action/reaction. This goes back to the ‘don’t try to figure out why’ I mentioned earlier. I had one of the nastiest things at the faire to happen to me, and one of the ‘masterminds’ tried to friend me on Facebook years later. A friend shook her head and laughed at me. Then said
“She’s stabbed so many people in the back that she’s lost track.”
So much truth.

I’m not saying invite your detractors over for some scones and tea, but often they are less Machiavelli and more Moe of the three stooges. And be wary, they could be carrying a 2×4.

You are your own best friend and you can be the goofiest, cheesiest faire participant ever but you never deserve to be slammed or drawn into the stupidity of faire drama. We are still individuals and when you see a stampede happening-just don’t participate. You are there for your own purposes and to be part of a (productive) team. Although you probably have a good heart, be cognizant of the WHY you are getting involved, consult your brain-it does more than keep your body running. Take care of you, think things through and you will be glad you did.

catandspiders

Generally I try not to do product- based blog entries (here or on my personal ones) but I think sharing good items with people is key to making working at a hot, wearying renaissance faire a little better. Here are some items I was SO grateful to have this last weekend.

As the butt of the joke-‘what sits in the sun and smells like bacon?-An Irishman’, I’m a little obsessive about -Sunscreen: My absolute favorite is the Neutrogena line of sunscreens. We have a member with an Aloe allergy, so it’s all he can use and these are smooth, drying and resilient. They are expensive. As a friend used to say, it’s a good purchase to the get the high end of a relatively inexpensive product. If you don’t care for these then I can say nice things about the Aveeno line and these have special sweat-tolerant  ones as well. I rarely use Banana Boat if I can help it as it has ruined a number of my shirts with bizarre stains. Even a mediocre sunscreen is better than none at all. And be diligent about reapplication. Few things are worse than doing a second day at the faire, sweating onto burned skin and feeling twice the burn.  And almost everyone in Phoenix Swords wears HATS. It may seem counter to staying cool but it really is not only a great accessory but protection.

Bugs: I buy the stuff with DEET, specifically the Off products. Other ways we cope: eating garlic, using lavender oil and Avon’s skin so soft. But some of the places we travel I swear the mosquitos just lick the oil off and treat it like a sauce.  I get that we all want to be environmentally friendly but in my green little heart I have made my peace with DEET products. And I’m not just going to talk about outdoor bugs, you need to think about indoor ones as well. Because not every place has good exterminators or sometimes it’s just part of the landscape. In the South, roaches are a fact of life-be it a mansion or a tin-roof shack.  New England is rife with Lyme Disease, Budbugs are a plague in New York. And if you haven’t experienced chiggers…well you are going to have some long-lasting scars.

You should do Tick checks
How to do a bedbug check

We have a “roach protocol”-that we store dirty laundry separately and knot up the bag when we finish. We keep our luggage away from roach “happy places” coffee machines, microwaves, trash, the bathroom, food. We recommend bounce sheets for those without allergies. We shake out everything before the re-pack and if there is any additional confirmation of roaches before leaving. The luggage gets fumigated in a bag and lives in the car for a couple of days.  So far, so good.

It’s good to have flip-flops (just like camp) if your hotel is seedy. And I like to have a good vinegar rinse when I come home and soaking your poor bug-eaten feet in some vinegar and water  helps take out the sting.

We have  a first aid kit (actually more like four) but we keep trash bags, safety pins, a sewing kit and random bottle of water with it as well. Also-device that tells time, we have a rule: no running to shows and be alert.

I’m going to finish it up with BE RESPONSIBLE. When you are neglectful of your own pre-planning and equipment, that is YOUR fault. Not the people beside you, not the faire organizer or the staff or your group. This is not an end-all be all list but some things you need to keep in mind as well as all the other items like your sets, shows and safety!

If anyone has additional suggestions/ideas –throw them into the comments!

loveme

Although I blog primarily about doing renaissance faires, We’d be foolish to turn down opportunities to do other venues –so we don’t! Everything is a learning opportunity.

Our most recent show was at the Springfield Libraries (part of a series)  and the focus was on our historical shows.  It reminded me about our audience types-this not about how we feel about the audience but how they feel about US.

Our breakdown for audience type:

Class 4 – Actively hostile. Someday I may share these stories, but not this day. If you are familiar with this scene from the Blues Brothers, you get the idea.

Class 3-The audience is wandering by in a non-standard venue. It is *difficult* to get this audience to care about what we are doing. This might be a town festival  or farmer’s market. No one came to see sword fighters and we are competing with things like a butter cow, ponies or puppies. (Deadly distractions to this audience)

Class 2 We are an act that fits into a theme or venue. We have been asked to perform by an organization that has an interest in what we do. This could be a renaissance faire, a local event vaguely based on chivalry, movie opening,  or someone’s theme party.

Class 1 The audience is specifically there to see what we do. This is either a venue designed to show off swords or fire,  museum,  a sword expo,  a reenactment event, a historical celebration, or a show where one has fans.

Now back to the starting paragraph, the library was a mix of these and frankly, people with weapons standing at your local library are a bit intimidating. And we had to think fast to makes connections with our varied audience.

Here some ways in which we did that:

Pop Culture: we are often teased for attending or watching kids movies but this pays off-we can make references to Star Wars, popular cartoons, fantasy movies, Manga, comics and more.  Sometimes you have to step into something different to reach across to other people.

Literature and art : Fortunately we are readers-maybe not all the same thing – but enough that we cover a lot of ground.  Because of a recent trip to the art museum, we were on the ball with a discussion about Caravaggio and his brawling habits, about Dumas and how interesting his actual life had been, and never underestimate reading graphic novels!

Hands-on; Although no one is allowed to swing around a sword, they can “bag” our defeated fighter (see our show, it will become clear) and we do a segment we refer to as Gallegher-esque. We let kids of all ages feel the weight of what we use and explain how we use it.

Listen: We invite questions because the best way to engage sometimes is to be quiet and let people tell you what they need and want.

Are there audiences we have not managed to engage? Yes, and everyone gets one of these.  I wish I could say we didn’t take it personally, but we absolutely do. Sometimes the next audience gets it like a double-rainbow fire hose to the face because we are determined to work past it. This is not an ideal reaction but  one can only moderate once you’ve calibrated the settings for your audience-from the ‘I hear you breathing’ to ‘the WOO! people’

It’s important to remember that any environmental factor that effects you, also effects your audience. Days after 9/11 we had fellow entertainers throwing themselves onto the ground in front of patrons because people were so heartsick and needed a laugh. If it’s hot and miserable for you, you aren’t going to hold an audience. It’s a living creation and agreement-you and those watching you. And really that’s what performing is, basically tuning yourself until you are all in synch. Unlike a musician, you can’t really do that extensively before a show, it is on the fly and you hope to hit the right chords as it is a different tune every time.  But if you do, it’s a work of art and everyone goes home humming.

ming
I was using my highest level of profanity (appropriate on Mother’s Day since it involved the word “Mother” and how one becomes a mother) trying to get some HTML code to work on the revamped website. My partner came over to see if he had to heave chocolate or liquor my way and I asked
“Doesn’t anybody realize how much work is behind the scenes in making things happen!??”
he smiled and answered,
“No and we can take some pride in that.”

This subject is especially close to my heart as a number of friends are dealing with venues, performer issues, financial issues and health/family issues. One doesn’t have to be financially solvent and totally stable to do the business of renaissance faires but boy, it sure does help.

I have a whole post due to be written about organizing faires (and why I try not to do it any more) but there are extra burrs and cockles with some Dante mixed in for good measure. Some friends are currently dealing with wrestling that faire beast right now. (I have no idea how they manage it) But I’m writing this as a plea to performers and volunteers to be nice to the folks who do the dirty work so you can get on stage.

From the performer perspective, you generally start as a volunteer and you are given your marching orders. If your faire overlords are kind you will have things like breaks, water and food.

One of the most potent weapons I have seen organizers, leaders and fraternities use is the psychology of exclusivity-that is, because you are slaving away for a certain institution, you have earned the right to be there and it automatically makes you better than everyone else who does the same thing somewhere else.  I have looked in awe at how effectively some faires  and groups(and nonprofits) have applied this method. I’m not saying hard work doesn’t elevate you-it absolutely improves your skillset, makes you part of a team and generally moves mountains. But this application does not work equally to all things and we have seen the dark side of this as well.

Convince someone that they are better than their fellow human beings and  gets something like the Stanford Prison experiment. Even in our own group we experienced something like it when we decided to be more  hands-off as leaders.  That played out poorly. So now we have a benevolent dictatorship run as a meritocracy.

But we DO have to be in your business when it effects the whole organization and the people in it.  We get a double dose of work –not only should we be able to pinch-hit for the other performers, but  we had to start weeks and years before with making a name, advertising, hustling gigs and working out contracts.  Our current group is pretty responsible (and thank you so much for that) but in the past we’ve had to do phone check-ins, wake-up calls,personalized checklists,  to-the-minute schedules and coffee runs (which makes the water and tea drinker owners frown a bit) We make sure everyone knows locations, directions, meeting times, weather reports-and has the needed props and equipment. In some cases we had to provide-last-minute transportation!

Image

One formerly typical incident, that to this day causes me to make a face like the one above, was when we had to roust a member, harass them into getting dressed, still late and when emerging blamed another troupe member because they (not the blamed one) had forgotten a certain costume accessory.(?!)  Later, on the departure of this member (and so many like them) we all stood in front of the vehicles, fully dressed and ready to go, did a head count and all realized that it was only us grownups and we were ready to go. I think some of us did a little dance before loading in and leaving. (I’m never going back to the dark times!)

If someone runs a faire, well this gets exponentially bigger and more complicated. This is why most organizers have a merchant AND a performer coordinator so the cat-herding is divided.

We fully realize by being “in charge” in means you have the most unforgiving boss ever-who follows you into the bathroom with questions and whispers in your ear just before you sleep. And that you VOLUNTARILY signed up for the madness.

What I’m really trying to say is that if you are a performer or participant in faires, that when you come into a situation, please come prepared as best you can.  Or as a former troupe member so eloquently put it (phrase here not for kids)  The folks who make the magic happen are juggling a lot of balls, so please leave your chaos at home and don’t make it part of the show!

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