These people are clearly “HARD CORE” (throws horns)

Vernacular? – rennie, renrats, reperformers, playtrons, etc. Got That? Me either. Same with garb, kit, mundane, tin hat, and more.

Quite a few individuals need to label things and as a performer we are subject to designations as well. Some might be  1) people who perform for a living 2) those who try to make it a business or paying hobby 3) for the love.  (If you would like foreshadowing of your life as a performer, I give you this quote from Molnár

We fall into category TWO as I genuinely love my Day Job. This means that by some hard-core (or those that think they are) renaissance performers call us with a sniff and uplift of the nose “weekenders.”

We are proud to hold that label for a number of reasons-First, we make good money at our day-to-day jobs and we share that good fortune with others. We are professionals in a number of fields and worked hard to get there.

We live in an area where the sword/performance community is densely packed. One of the more successful  swords teachers we know gave this tongue-in-cheek quote about his profession being “the hardest way to earn 20,000.00 a year.” In fact I have made this list so that we can just sort of gape at the variety (another post, later) and if someone wants to work with swords, there may be different/better fit than our group. It’s a small pond with a buttload of fish.

Third, I love faires but I don’t LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE faires. If someone ran up to me and said “OMG, best stage direction and props handling EVAH!” I’d get pretty excited.  But that is not the aspect that generally receives the attention. We DID have one gentleman at a festival ask if we were using 16th century sword technique and then which version of the manual. It was a supremely geeky moment and we reveled in it.

We study manuals, we present at symposia and we throw on the silly costumes and entertain. It’s a mix that is unusual,  thus ensuring that we are equally reviled by Western Martial Artists, manual scholars, reenactors, performers and Society of American Fight Directors. If we were doing this full time, we would not have the leisure time or the resources to do as much as we do. Being a full-time performer takes a drive like no other and although it will perfect your craft,  it does funnel down how you travel, meet expenses, and types of peer support. Most faires do not hire one type of performer so when we meet other sword groups at a show, they are unlikely to do quite what we do even as it is fun to compare and contrast. That’s true of other types of acts as well. So it really doesn’t lend itself to direct peer-to-peer sharing.

Finally, as “weekenders” there are few things that go up my nose faster than participants playing the “Rennier-Than-Thou” game. To me, you have just overplayed your hand.  First, Acts and other participants are not thoroughbred animals, we don’t have pedigrees and points, so setting up an arbitrary system of scoring-useless. Faires can be a meat grinder-we work in weather extremes, for not great pay, with lots of strangers having to wear an alternate personality all day. We are all just trying to do our respective jobs and make the paying customers happy.  Labeling your fellow workers smacks of a nasty elitism that has no place in a professional setting-we’re more of the “uplift” school of thought-that if the new guy is wearing polyester and sneakers, that maybe we can give some pointers or help-NICELY. And if we have violated some invisible rule, we hope that others will be kind to us.

I have profound respect for those who are full-time  in the faire circuit (and others) traveling and still managing to be cheerful, entertaining and an inspiration to thousands. But that is not our path. Do we still have to carry insurance, write policies and have safety protocols in place?  Yes. Do we rely on tips to get through, no and we don’t ask for them except at our fire show. Although it is a different way to be, it ultimately leads to the same path as the person busking in the lanes and streets, the honed full timers and our ilk-we’re all the same end result to the person coming through the gate-fun.

There is a enough contention received for free that we don’t need to buy and sell it to one another as entertainers.