In the past month or so I've learned a lot from my friends, teachers, and fellow cast mates at the Bristol Renaissance Faire. I'm writing this as a sort of letter to all of them to let them know what they've meant to me so far. This might sound really cheesy, but hey, I'm in theater. We live on cheese.
Lesson 1- Stay Hydrated and take care of yourself
So I already kind of knew this one, but it's come into a much more practical application than I realized. As someone once told me, "Start hydrating.....yesterday!" It's true.
Lesson 2- Don't Judge Yourself
No one else will judge you as harshly as you judge yourself. I know this fact a little too well. No one is harder on me than I am. I beat myself up about everything. Letting go of that little voice in my head has been hard, but it's been something that I've needed to learn to control.
Lesson 3- Just GO FOR IT!
Once you stop that little voice in your head, you can do just about anything.
Lesson 4- Improvisation, while scary at times, is something that I am not bad at.
I've been under the very wrong assumption that I suck at improv. While I do not think I'm the best improvisational performer, I now know that I don't suck and can learn to be better now that I've started telling that voice in my head to "SHUT IT!" Half the time, I just need to push myself out there and sink or swim. Surprisingly, I've been swimming more than I thought I would.
Lesson 5- FAILURE IS A-OK
The first thing they told us at BAPA was that they wanted us to fail and we were told than failure should be celebrated. At the time I thought they were certifiably crazy. While I still think we're all a little touched in the head, I've accepted the idea that failing is good. Why? Because it means that I'm trying something, it means that I've tried so hard that I've run into a large brick wall nose first. I've had several failures and while the feeling of having a big hole in my stomach is not very fun, it goes away after two or three minutes and I figure out a new way to make an idea work, or toss it out the window.
Lesson 6- Ideas are meant to be thrown away
I think I had two or three ideas of who I would be playing before my Director came to me with the idea of Anne-Drew a girl disguised as a boy sailor. I threw all of the other ideas out the window and embraced Anne with a big hug.
Lesson 7- Some things take time
I'm still working on my dialect and my Elizabethan speech. There were times where I got stuck on my character and how she acts. Anne was difficult to find some weeks and I had to fake it a bit. There are times where if I don't take a moment to slip into her, I have a hard time finding her, that's going to get easier with time. It took me until probably last week to actually find a comfortable Anne-like way while still saying "Yes, and."
Lesson 8- "Yes, and....."
Need I say more?
Lesson 9- Elevate and Include
Patrons want this so much more than I do. I actually auditioned to be in the BRF, Patrons pay to be in the BRF, if only for one day. I learned many lessons from a book written by a Phoole, many of this lessons are about Patrons and just how much they want to be included and how much they want to have a genuine moment with someone. It's the least I can do to say "Hello, how are you? Yes, I really want to know. You are important to me."
The last lesson is not to be counted as the least by any means. There are many more lessons that I have learned, but they could honestly fill up a book. Maybe one day I'll write one, just to remind myself of the things that I need to know. For now I'll just post these ones since they stick out in my head the most.
Thank you for accepting this child trapped in a young adult's body and setting me loose on the streets that I call home. I've dreamed about being apart of the family that is the Bristol Renaissance Faire ever since I can remember. It's a place holds magic for me, and this year I help to make the magic.
Thank you, my fellow BAPA students for playing with me and helping me learn. Thank you for making me your friend within minutes of us meeting and building a trust bond that has allowed me to take risks that I never would have dreamed of taking before. Thanks for going crazy and letting go of looking stupid or silly. We never looked stupid, by the way.
Thank you, my Street Cast. You've given me more laughter in one month than I've had in a year. You've put me miles outside my comfort zone and stretched me farther than I've even been stretched before. You are some of the most genuine people I've ever met. Veterans, I'm blessed to be able to have trained under you all, each of you have taught me at least one thing, some of you have taught me several things. Newbies, thanks for standing alongside me, I hope I've done a good job of cheering you on as much as you all have cheered me on. Thanks for letting me succeed and fail.
To the Captains and other Sailors- Thank you for letting a girl into your world of men.
The first day I was told that the BRF cast and crew was like a family. After that first day I started to have an inkling of what that felt like. Now I can say that I have found many sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and maybe a few "fathers" among these crazy, creative, brilliant people. I can't wait for the rest of the summer and all of the things that I will learn and experience. This has been the best summer of my life so far, and if the rest of the summer is as good as it's been so far, I hope to have many more in your company.