As I eagerly await the input of various cohorts on my thoughts and efforts to build some kind of SCA carnival I have been thinking about the kinds of things I want to see myself. I know the kinds of things that appeal to me. As a magician I have a fondness for what is often referred to as “the allied arts.”
So what are “the allied arts?” Once again, I am very glad that I pretended that you asked. (If you and I keep this up we’ll get along famously I’m sure.)
The Allied Arts are pretty much anything that isn’t straight up music or dancing. So juggling, fire eating, puppets, fortune tellers, variety acts, clowns & mimes. Things along those lines.
From a historical/SCA perspective that whole list works except for the clowns & mimes. Although there is the historical “fool” which fulfills that ecological niche. The question is whether or not I would want something like that at my SCA version. Certainly not the more modern “clown” and definitely not the very stinkingly modern “mime”, but a good “fool?” That’s got some possibilities.
But I’m also digging around to see what else I might find. So, anyone know some acrobats and/or stilt walkers in the West Kingdom? I’d like to talk to them.
Anyway, I should bring myself back on topic here.
While I like the allied arts a lot, I’m thinking about those music and dancing entertainers. The dancing I think I’ve got a good cover on. With the help of a belly dancing friend of mine (check out Raks Baraka on Facebook) I know we’ll have some excellent quality dancing. (I’m a bit of a belly dancing snob. I’ve seen to many years of really bad SCA belly dancing to want to subject an audience to more of it.)
The music is more of a concern to me.
It seems like we have a lot more opportunities for music then we do for other performances. And I am, in fact, planning structurally for an open “bardic circle” following the staged acts. So there will be plenty of music to be had. The question I’m wrestling with is whether or not to feature musical performers during the acts or not.
With things like magic and juggling and puppets, there is a lot more to see. With music the entertainment is in listening. It’s not as interactive as other kinds of performances. Even the dancing can be more interactive then a featured musician.
And before anyone jumps up and says “what about a sing-a-long” let me just say “wouldn’t a sing-a-long work better during the bardic circle itself?”
I’m talking about a choir or a soloist singing a piece. Like at a bardic competition, this is a performance to be focused on but often doesn’t involve anything more active on the part of the performer(s) then to sing and somehow my perception is that it doesn’t exactly fit the “carnival/circus” theme right.
But note that I say “my perception”. That’s the key.
So the question I would pose is simply this: would you, my potential audience, want to see a choir or soloist type act, or would you rather enjoy the music as a part of the “bardic circle” experience? Why?