turtle-in-shellI know that you really enjoy watching (insert “Being There” joke)  the acts at the faire but yes, you as a shy person or as an introvert (a person who needs alone time to recharge) or even a shy extrovert (A person who needs a social script but once that’s set there is no stopping you)  or and outgoing introvertmany of the people you see onstage are *just like you* the majority really are extroverts (that’s why they were drawn to this. )But like any slice of life, it’s not generally made up of just one type of person. With the success of books like “Quiet” it’s important to note that it’s not just the arm-flinging hams that have something to contribute to entertainment. And not just behind the scenes.

What an introvert does:
Because going into a situation is like a social obstacle course, most introverts are actually pretty good at reading people and they can especially do a low-key approach to personal interactions. Although a lot of folks are very good at being the center of attention, sometimes they can be overwhelming.  The introvert knows to bait the trap with an interesting hook, look or object that invites participation. This also lets the invited person set the pace of how much or little this scene will play out interactively. Although the extrovert gives permission to be  loud, the introvert knows how to target the more reticent audience member.

We listen to everything. And although the extrovert is funny, the introvert has been tweaking the joke for weeks and observing crowd reactions. The introvert saw the lady in row three wincing and the Bubba in row five cracking his knuckles. We are the ones who pull aside a main player and say.
“Dude, you need to stop doing ‘x’ it’s really getting to people.”
Sometimes that is the reaction you want, most times, even if it played well in Peoria, maybe not so much in Nantucket. (And that limerick is RIGHT OUT)

We make excellent “straight men” and “fall guys” because we don’t need the spotlight (usually)  We are happy to be the brunt of a joke or do non-speaking parts. We had an excellent introvert that told us
“Look I can never go on stage again, it was too much.” And we were all sad to hear it because he stole the show with gestures and mugging.  I think our hams were somewhat relieved. My super-secret power is being able to hit the dirt and sound like a sack of wet mice. And to “take a kick.” Sadly, we can’t do that any more because it’s too convincing. When you have to hold back a crowd after a stage fight, that fourth wall crashes in an unpleasant way. Now our fights have to be “less graphic.” Thanks pseudo-chivalry inspired by faires!

Often we are the more eloquent speakers-not because we are in any way better than an extrovert, but because we show our distain in a different way. Most extroverts are firecrackers-BOOM! Then it’s all over and they feel better. Sadly, a lot of damage can be done in very few seconds. Introverts (and well-trained extroverts) are accustomed to taking that extra few seconds to speak. Delaying the exact words “YOU ARE A DUMBASS”  and saying something a little less pointed can save jobs, lives and working. We  are the folks who are genuinely happy to have the show over. We don’t mind jobs like: watch my stuff, stay here and act as a point person, or be the unexpected quiet person that pops up unexpectedly at the sword rack when grabby hands think no one is around.  And generally we don’t have to tell everyone else what a rough day it was, because we assume everyone involved in it already knows.

So although we don’t get the loud accolades, knowing that it all went smoothly, that we had our moment onstage and people really enjoyed themselves, this is how we get our moments at the renfaire. And how we help the “hams” get theirs.

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