Saturday, June 2, 2012

BAPA Week the First

So Presumably you've read the prequel to this post from my other blog- Astonishing. If you haven't, go read it. This post will make a lot more sense!
Also- I am VERY TIRED, but I want to get this post out before I reach that 24 hour mark where these memories need to be frozen and then thawed out again each time I access them. Did I just compare my brain to a freezer? Yes, that is how tired I am.

Today was just for us "first years." It sounds so Hogwarts, I like it a lot.

First things first our lovely Artistic Director gave us a lot of guidelines (also known as rules) and a rousing pep talk. I swear- this woman is the best pep talk/motivational speaker I have ever heard. Anyone else would sound really cheesy saying what she says, but it works when she says it. She's really energetic (isn't everyone who works at BRF?), and says things so sincerely. BRF cast and crew is like a family, we support each other and root for each other. If there is a problem, we solve it. High school drama will not be tolerated (thank God!). And everything is said cleverly and with positive humor! I think I'm going to get abs from laughing.

Every person I have met today has made me want to work harder than I have ever worked (only we don't say "work" we say "play") in my theatre career. EVER. Now that I have stated that at the beginning, I no longer need to reiterate it throughout this post.

Next- We had a lovely lesson in Theatrical Elizabethan English (because we don't relaly know waht they actually sounded like, so there is an official Theatrical version which most people recognize)- which I am fondly nicknaming "Where to put those -eths and -sts." This was taught by our amazing Director of the Guide of St. Laurence (Dirty Duck Inn, where the cast can buy cheap and yummy food! From here on out this is referenced as DDI or St. Ls or anything that has to do with Duckies) and The Earl of Leicester.

The first thing I learned at BAPA came from these two brilliant people- I am supposed to FAIL. My teachers want me to have failure, because that means I DID SOMETHING and TOOK A RISK, and Failures are to be CELEBRATED. If I don't have one failure each time I'm on site doing something, I'm not trying hard enough. We all clapped and cheered for the people who failed when called upon to conjugate verbs in Old English. We also clapped for the people who did well, and for any introduction. Basically we were clapping all day for anything.

After we found out where to put those pesky little thees and thous and yous and "eths" I got to go to DIALECT CLASS, which is pretty much the same thing that I was doing, except with an accent. Now I can listen to my dialect CD 24/7 along with my music CD.

After Dialects, I went to Improv. Oh improv. The thing I am greatly intimidated by. Greatly. G-R-E-A-T-L-Y. I blame the theater program of my youth.
Here's why.
Those improv classes were filled with the popular and talented people who got LEAD ROLES and were looked up to and slightly intimidating. And I was never one of those people. I didn't lump myself in with those talented people and therefore felt extremely shy. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not that shy. So whenever I was called on (I never volunteered) to go and improv, I panicked and my mind when blank. That's the worst thing that happens when you do improv. Improv is about thinking on your feet. Ergo- I never took improv again and have had only a handful of good experiences with it. The funny thing is, I met a girl with the exact same problem. We both love improv, it just intimidates the HECK out of us.
Ironic that my role in BRF is all about improvisation. You may laugh. I laugh about this every day and then freak out.
However, BRF is all about support. I have never been in a more supportive group. For the first time in my life (or maybe second- but that's one exception that I will post about on my other blog the future) I didn't feel judged when I felt like I was flailing around like a fish out of water.
My Director of Street Cast taught improv and it was totally scary and a lot of fun. It also taught me that I can get past myself and think on my feet. I just needed to be around people who were pretty much strangers until a few hours previous.

After that came lunch and I was hungry and I ate and my food was gone way too fast.

Then came Characterization- which is a lot like Improv, but you do a lot more "character" type things. Like acting like a cow. I'm not kidding. We had to mix ourselves up and close our eyes, then we were assigned one of 4 animal sounds and had to find our common animal groups with our eyes closed.
Did I mention that this class was taught by the wonderful Jane the Phoole?
It was fun. I liked this class better than improv, mainly because I was given a character to portray in one way or another. Even if it was a cow. You may laugh, I am without a doubt laughing as I write this.

After that came music, we learned two or three songs. Not much else to say. It was fun! I've been in choir and musical theater, so it was a lot like a choir class. I liked the music class a lot though (there just isn't too much to say other than that).

Then came the best part of my day....MAYPOLE DANCING!!! If you have never done maypole dancing, DO IT. Come to BRF and dance with the Bristol Buskin Frolic (also known as BBF). They are great and I wish I could be dancing around a maypole every day. It's addicting. Running around in circles to music while holding onto a ribbon that you swear is about to pull you off the ground at any second. Best Thing Ever.
There's one pattern called the spider web where some dancers sit on the ground while the others weave around them. I got to sit down while other ribbons where wrapped around mine and the other "sitters." Here's the fun part- sometimes you don't weigh enough to resist the pull against your ribbon that you are pulling taught and you go flying through the air! Or in my case- rolling on the ground. I just about died from fun. I swear if I had any breath left after an hour of maypole dancing I'd be a grinning giggling mess.

After all that fun we got to go sit for a history lesson. The Earl is a well spring of knowledge, I would love to just listen to him all day and glean information from him. Him and just about any of my other teachers.
After that we got papers that we're supposed to turn in tomorrow with our elective class choices for the next 4 weeks. I am having the WORST TIME choosing what I want to take- total kid in a candy store. Go figure I'd nerd out about whether I should take history of Bristol or Sailing in Elizabethan Times.

The Artistic Director came back for final announcements and asked anyone who had a fish out of water moment to see her afterwards. I chose to go, not because I felt totally out of my league, but I wanted to hear what she had to say, and the improv hesitation still niggled at me.
Like I said above- this woman is the best at pep talks. She gave a speech that was so full of caring and encouragement. Any anxiety I might have felt was pushed away by the caring that this woman exuded for every person who was in the "I'm not so sure about ___" group. She assured us that we were chosen, and there is a reason for us being there. She told us to reach out, ask questions, everyone wants us to succeed. the BRF cast and crew is like a family.
I totally can see why she stresses that the BRF cast is like family. I'm already making friends with weird and crazy people who are exactly like me- only crazier. I get to go back tomorrow and PLAY with these people. I was practically in tears as I was driving home I was so happy.

I'd come to this Faire every year for one day, and that one day sustained me until I could come back. I would dream about the Faire and now I'm working it. Every time I step onto the grounds I feel like I'm home.  Today was more than an affirmation that I am supposed to be here.
I can't write the events of today and do it the justice it deserves. It was just too incredible. Think of the first time you experienced the magic of the Faire and multiply it by a thousandfold. That was my day today, the good and the improv.
I can't wait for tomorrow! I get to meet all of the cast!

I know I've left out a lot (Like the bee landing on my hair that I kinda sorta touched and then freaked out about), but this is honestly the best I can do at this time of night, being tired as all heck. I had a major adrenaline rush typing this and now I want to crash and sleep until my alarm wakes me promptly at 7am.

The way God is working in my life is more than awe inspiring, I feel like my childhood dreams are reality and that my time is finally coming. The strange sensation of waiting for some hidden "thing" has waned a little bit. I finally belong somewhere, I don't need to feel strange.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
―C.S. Lewis

I'm not the only one any more.

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