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13
Mar

Trippingly on the Tongue! Acting at the Festival

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While many of our musicians and acts will arrive at Revel Grove a few days prior to the start of the season, there is a dedicated band of performers who have been visiting the shire for more than six weeks now - those are our actors.

Each season actors from the greater Baltimore & Washington area audition for roles in both our royal court and village .  These actors are given a character that would have populated either the village or been a courtier during the time of Henry VIII.

There are two aspects to performance.  One is improvisation, the other is scripted shows and events.  Many actors new to the venue are comfortable with the stage acting, but can find the improvisation quite daunting!

For almost eight weeks, the actors busily discover their characters, memorize lines, and learn new skills to create the complete characters you will see on August 29th.  From learning the manners of 16th century England, to swordfighting or period dancing these actors spend their summers here onsite creating interesting shows and experiences for the patrons.

And there is a lot to learn.  We cover such topics as "when do you use thee/thou instead of ‘you'" and ‘How do you greet the King'.  Actors used to performing in traditional stage shows also have to deal with the joys and woes of outdoor theatre.  I can attest to swallowing more than one bug while acting

on the Globe Theatre!  An occupational hazard when performing outdoors.

Each season we choose a different year in the reign of King Henry VIII and devise a storyline for the show .  This storyline is played out by the characters improvisation in the pathways, and in the various Royal Court Shows scheduled through the day.  It really is a 16th century soap opera.

This year we focus on 1543.  It marked one of the worst plague outbreaks in English history.  A news item back in early spring sparked a story idea that greatly influenced our shows this year.  More on that next time....but for now, back out to the 21st century heat and humidity in Maryland to create some 16th century English magic.

 

Carolyn Spedden

Artistic Director

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