Category Archives: Site Updates

Theatrical skills for the SCA Bard.

A few months back I taught a class called “Theatrical Skills for SCA Bards”.  The point of the class was to pass on some skills and ideas garnered from my years of stage work that I think might be useful to the SCA Bard in the Bardic Circle context.  It took me a while but I finally managed to put it up.

So here it is, Theatrical Skills for Bards.  My take on stage skills that could be extremely useful for the SCA Bard around the Bardic Circle.


Coronet, Autocratting With A Bad Back And Making Lunar Observations

This past weekend was Mists Coronet.  I was the Autocrat (the guy in charge for you non-SCA readers).

When I took it on I knew that it was supposed to be easy.  And really for the most part it was.  I think the biggest problem I had to deal with overall was a misfiring herald (the person who is supposed to be making the announcements for you non-SCA readers again).

But I had some problems.  This was the first time I have solo-run an event of this size.  The good thing about it is that events this size have certain things that always happen and certain people who are in charge of those certain things which means I didn’t have to be responsible for those things.

The bad thing, for me specifically, is that events this size have certain people who handle the certain things and as such I have to trust them to do those certain things.

Yup, I’m a control freak.  Always knew that I was but this event in particular brought it into sharp focus simply because there were a lot of things which were out of my control and needed to remain out of my control.  This does not mean that there aren’t thing I wish were handled a little differently but at least I got through this and I know enough now that I could (and probably will) do it again.

As to the bad back thing well I wish I knew what the heck I did.  Late afternoon on Saturday I was walking across the field delivering toilet paper to the ladies rest rooms and my back decided for reasons surpassing my understanding to clench and go out and otherwise leave me gasping for breath and barely able to stand for a couple of hours.  It made the rest of the evening pretty hard to deal with.

Including getting out with my telescope and trying to get people interested.

But I did manage it for a bit.  A couple of people, including the current Prince of The Mists, took a few minutes to take a peek through my Galileo prototype.  So as far as that part is concerned “Mission Accomplished.”

All in all, despite a number of difficulties both official and personal, I managed to make it through the weekend and it even appears that people enjoyed the event so I’m calling it a win and adding it to my SCA Resume.

Next time will be better.

Carnival Programs

“Programs! Get your programs! You can’t tell the players without a program!”


Like anything else creative, ideas and research seem to come in bursts. After the trip to Disneyland and the examination of various automata, I have been digging around for more information. And of course, because of the flamingo hobby horse (which seems to be the correct technical term for this kind of “body puppet”) I’ve been seeing what I can find out about that.

And because of that I’ve also been adding some more information sources to the collection for puppets, juggling and fire eating. Yay! New pages. (When the heck am I going to get time to digest all of this data? No clue! *smile*)

But one thing that just went sailing through my head, and perhaps warrants some consideration is the creation of programs for these carnival shows.

With our acting troup, The Golden Stag Players, we always create a program. This is pretty understandable given that is common practice in a theatrical setting. You really do, to a certain extent, need a program to determine the actors, the characters and even sometimes their relation to one another.

But when I go to a Cirque du Soleil show there are programs but they make a very distinct effort to not identify the individual performers as their philosophy is to present themselves as a troupe first and foremost. A philosophy I appreciate for a lot of reasons and is most definitely appropriate in their case.

Now I am not in anyway saying we are even remotely Cirque-like, but we aren’t doing a standard theatrical creation here either.

It seems to me that there are a couple of considerations:

  • As this is an SCA targeted entertainment it’s unlikely that anyone is really an ‘unknown’ with regards to this group.
  • Introducing individual acts via a “ring master” (for lack of a better term at the moment) would address identity anyway.
  • The feeling I’d like to generate is more troupe first than individual first.

Then, because of the run of digging up resources I’ve done today one thing suddenly jumped to my mind; documentation.

Yes first and foremost this is about creating an entertainment space and entertainment forms that can be enjoyed as “family friendly”. But we are in the SCA, we are trying to do things in a historical fashion and as such being able to provide not just the entertainment but the education is something worth considering.

So, prospective performers, prospective audience, what do you think? Should we provide a program? Should we be concerned with documentation as a part of a program or maybe a webspace that is referenced in the program so we can put that documentation out there? Is this kind of information of interest or is it just a distraction?

Thoughts? Comments? Small rocks?

Project Frustrations

It’s frustrating to be extremely excited about a project but be unable to progress on it.

The Carnival Project is something I am highly excited about but because there are other people involved I can only progress as fast as they are able to get back to me. I knew that was going to be the case of course. I’ve been in the theater for a very long time, so I know all about herding cats.

The Telescope Project is something I am highly excited about but I need to get:

  • a tripod
  • a sketch book and sketching tools
  • a way to speed up time so I don’t have to wait for various stellar configurations

Yeah, that last one probably not going to happen any time soon.

A new project is raising it’s head which I think I’m going to be playing with as well – Ancient Inventions. In particular I want to build a model of the Heron Temple Doors device because it ties so well into the research I’ve done on magic and theater in history.  And it looks like I can actually build it pretty easily.  At least my brain is already turning over a number of ideas on how to do it.

But it’s another project and I’m frustrated because I have this thing I have to do every day called work, which lately largely involves waiting for other people to do their jobs so I have what I need to be able to do mine. Remember that herding cats thing? Yeah, these are government cats. They move even slower and more aimlessly.

Ah well. That’s what happens when you are interested in to many things all at the same time and not rolling in money.

At least I updated this site and the menu structure a bit more.  Yay!  Progress!

A few more things added

Added a bit more information about my telescope project and a separate page which will be the class I will eventually teach.  Right now it’s just an outline, but as I progress it will get fleshed out a great deal more.

I also added a new thing I’m interested in researching: Henna Tattoos.  I’ve gotten kind of interested in tattoos in general though I know I can’t commit to one for myself.  Henna seems the perfect compromise.  So I’ve put down a stake so I can remind myself to do more research with an eye towards eventually trying it out on myself and maybe others who are interested in it.

Added a Current Projects Menu

I added a Current Projects Menu with the idea that it will help me keep an eye on things I’m supposed to be putting some work and effort into.

Currently I’m very gung-ho about my Telescope project and I want to do more work on my Carnival project as well.  I figure by running a Current Projects list I may actually get stuff done.  And once the projects are actually finished I can move the pages to another location for future reference.

Also, I added links to my Magic-Historical section.  Makes sense since that is what I’m supposed to be a Laurel for.  I’m a little surprised at how little I have to put up there.  Need to find material that I can actually put on-line so I can add it in to my overall research archive.

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