I actually have two other blog posts written up but they are not coming out the way I want them to so you get to read this week’s fluffy brain spew while I try to cook up something of substance.

superman

Something I almost NEVER write about publicly  (I have two personal blogs elsewhere) is  what it is like for me to have the whole Clark Kent /Superman  thing going on. Let me be clear, *I* am not the one who called the phenomena this, it was tagged that way by my troupe mates.

Some people actively seek out attention, and I guess at a base level clearly I do as well. I am an introvert-that doesn’t mean shy, or scared of people or interaction, it means I recharge doing solo activities like reading, research, or killing creatures in World of Warcraft. This means when I am off the clock for performances, I am OFF THE CLOCK in my demeanor, my appearance and my general attitude toward humanity. Apparently this is enough that I drop off the public radar so drastically as to be unrecognizable.

Anecdote One: I am the Night
I was getting fire equipment from point A to point B and was dressed in street clothes, keeping my costuming from getting filthy. I was setting up behind a stage, hauling water buckets and torches, basically keeping a low profile.  One gentleman approached me and asked
“Do you think Temper will be here today?”
I must have made a face like a vole under a security light before answering
“I am absolutely sure that she will be performing today and is already here.”
And in that moment I was torn about the fact that I had clearly built a persona so unlike my workaday self  that she seemed to be a flamboyant, separate entity and that I had successfully been a ninja getting into the fest. I’ve read about how eyewitnesses are unreliable but seeing it firsthand is shocking.

And it wasn’t the last time it happened either.

With the discovery of this newfound power I decided that it was a boon rather than a negative. This ability has let me successfully scope out prospective troupe members, discreetly catch someone badmouth my group (a number of times) and shake out exactly who someone was rather than who they portrayed themselves to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not duplicitous in my faire characters and persona, it’s just me with the limiters off and the volume cranked up. And clothing designed to sear the rods and cones in any given set of eyeballs. But that so many individuals never take note of my facial features, how I walk, the way in which I speak. Needless to add I am a BAD actor so I generally do pretty cookie-cutter characters.

Anecdote Two: Sexy is not necessarily about beauty, it’s about STYLE.
I can be a person of extremes. Especially when someone states something as fact and I am convinced they are WRONG. I may argue initially but am definitely a money-where-your-mouth is sort of person. One troupe member hated to “lose” his choreographed fights so I spent a year “losing” my fights in a spectacular way to prove  that winning was not necessarily the most interesting or engaging way to get crowd attention and reaction. (I DO have a secret power to make a sound like a sack of wet mice hitting the dirt when I fall…) One day I was told that only nice-looking characters were needed at the renfaire and that really, unattractive people shouldn’t bother.

didn't

So I invented Swabby Lou, blonde, rat-haired, blacked out teeth pirate chick, unflattering leather clothing, black eye  and a can-do attitude about life, love and losing every fight. Yeah, that was interesting. I had some teenage girl threaten to cut me with a knife for flirting with her Father,  I had a number of “see me after the faire” offers and I managed to make crowds of teenagers cringe, then laugh, then offer dating advice and shout out at shows. It’s the only costume I enjoyed eating messy foods while wearing as it added to the “ambiance.” In short, apparently a big favorite. But it proved my point, even has my husband has politely, but firmly asked I NEVER do the character again. Swabby was an eye-opener for me. I have my own demons about self-worth, appearance and worthiness as a human being and that character  was me taking away my own lack of confidence but starting from a harder place and still coming out ahead.  Swabby  is remembered fondly by the troupe as she was good fun and a good source of stories. Go on with your bad self, Swabs.

In both of these cases I was absolutely not recognized after hours and they were –not-joking-just amped up versions of myself with different facets emphasized.  Are they who I am? Sort of. The sum? Hardly.

Which leads to point three: In my day-to-day life I am a quiet, polite person but absolutely steel underneath. There have been a number of instances that are described as “birds hitting a window” when someone tries to make me knuckle under. In many renfaire situations, people use characters (much like I temporarily did with Swabs) to try out someone bolder, more confident and more colorful. That is the great thing about faires, and one of the reasons that it is addictive, it’s a playground to be someone else. What is NOT cool is people forgetting that it’s trying on a hat and that you are not really the King, the Pirate Captain, or the Best Swordfighter Ever, you are someone having a bit of fun and not at someone else’s expense.

So what have I spend WAY too much time trying to say here?
That you never know who someone is under the costume  or not, so be nice. It doesn’t cost you anything.
Characters at faires may be similar to the internal packaging but they are not the whole story so although you may be encouraged to play with people, it’s not an invitation to ramp up to full-blown douchecanoe.
Sometimes it is perfectly okay to be still and at one with yourself and just observe, you may learn quite a bit.
And to fellow performers; many of us attend faires out of costume as patrons. So be good because some of us are ninjas in disguise.

swabby_cap_bob

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