I discovered some confusion concerning my last post.
This picture in particular:
What’s going on? You look like you’re stepping into water! You don’t actually get wet do you?
This picture, dear concerned readers, is a snap shot from the Pirate Show in which I am featured. This show takes place out of doors, as the entire festival does, on a stage that includes a small pond. Which houses a rather large snapping turtle- no joke. The climatic moments of the show include all actors falling/being pushed or thrown into the water. And such a thing means getting soaked, top to toe. The things I do for my art.
Getting completely submerged in a murky, turtle infested pond may seem like a sorry fate- and as Consequence Wailes, I do try to portray it as the WorstScariestMostHorrible Torture Ever. July has been quite a hot and humid month however, much changed from the cold and windy June. When the sun beats down on me, my hat, long pants, and leather corset, a trip into the pond is refreshing at the least.
I was lucky enough to be cast as a pirate. I know this. Pirates have long held a romanticism and captured our imaginations and adventurism. The explosion in popularity from Pirates of The Caribbean has yet to subside. People may not know there where pirates during the Renaissance (there were, they were commonly called “sea dogs”), but they still think I’m cool even if they don’t understand I’m (at least some what) historically accurate as well. I am lucky to walk the plank into a pond every day- it makes me cool in more ways than one.
Others of my cast mates are not so lucky. I walk into slightly murky water every day while others walk into a pit of mud. Not just walk into, submerge themselves. Face plant (not an exaggeration). This is the role of a mud beggar.
As I was not cast as a mud beggar, I have not done the same research on them as I have on pirates. I know not how founded in history they are, though I do know they are a common fixture at Renaissance fairs. They are typically a troupe of beggars turned actors who tell stories around a pit of mud, slowly getting dirtier and dirtier until the whole thing usually ends with essentially mud wrestling and utter chaos. Doesn’t that sound fun to watch? Trust me it’s hilarious.
I can give you an inside scoop: the mud pit they use isn’t just any ordinary mud puddle. Which brings me to the day called Muck Day. On Muck Day the Mud Beggar actors beseech (“beg” if you will) the assistance of their fellow actors to help them create their mud pit. I, hailing from NYC these days, am not afraid of dirt, and so did volunteer my services. There was much sifting of dirt, adding of water, and taking pains to removing plant life from the mud and the task took several hours. Muck Day is the only day people other than Mud Beggars are allowed near the mud.
How were we rewarded for our pains? With cheap beer and a roll in the mud. I don’t imagine you’ve ever stood in front of a huge mud puddle, but let me tell you it is hard to resist. I can’t say I didn’t hesitate before jumping in, but jump I did.
It was fun for an afternoon, but as I later tried scrub the dirt from my body I felt very glad to not have to do such things every day. Huzzah to being a pirate!