Archive for the ‘Renaissance Faire’ Category

Shakespeare’s Plays

August 5, 2010

About a month ago, Kristi sent me a link to the Shakespeare In a Year Facebook group which in turn took me to the Shakespeare In a Year blog. The woman writing the blog has challenged herself to read all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays and a couple of his poems in one year. Sounds a little like Julie and Julia to me but Shakespeare isn’t around to criticize her work like Julia Child did… but I digress. When I first looked at the blog, I thought I like to read plays, I could do this too. And besides, at the time I was only a month behind, I could probably catch up and be able to discuss the plays with the blogger. After thinking it over for a couple of days, I came to my senses and realized that I definitely do not have the time to read that much Shakespeare in such a short time and actually understand any of it.

I did, however, think that reading all of his plays sounded like an interesting challenge and something I could do over time. So, starting this week, I have begun an undertaking to read all 38 of Shakespeare’s play. When I finish one, I will start the next. It will be interesting to see how long it actually takes. While at the Bristol Renaissance Faire on Sunday, I purchased a copy of an anthology that contains five of Shakespeare’s comedies. As A.J. and I had just seen this play performed in July, I have decided to begin with Much Ado About Nothing. It doesn’t hurt that it was also the first play in the book. And, surprisingly, I have made it through all of Act I already.


Bristol Renaissance Faire

August 7, 2009

On Sunday last, the clan Magoon traveled to yon village of Bristol to attend the faire in honor of Her Majesty, the Queen. This was our fifth visit to Bristol Renaissance Faire, our fourth consecutive year, and our third year wearing costumes. This time, we saw a few of our favorite acts from faires past as well as couple of new acts. We plan on going at least once more this year to see only performances of troupes we have not yet seen.

Our fabulous faire experience started out at the front gate. As the gates swung opens and the patrons started to stream in, we were met by a raucous “Well Met, Magoon Family” from everyone’s favorite Elizabethan fool, Jane the Phoole. What a way to boost your ego on bright, sunny Sunday morning. Alas, that would be the last time saw Jane all day as we must have been traveling the grounds in opposing orbits with her the rest of the day. The first event of day was our spontaneous attendance at “Breakfast with the Brass.” We were early for the Moonie show and were treated to a wonderful concert by the Queen’s brass quartet. After that we attended shows by two of our favorite performers. Moonie was first followed by Doktor Kaboom. Both performances were very similar to what we have seen in years past but their interactions with the crowd are so wonderful that you don’t mind seeing it again.

In the middle of the day, we roamed the grounds, did some shopping, and interacted with the Fantastikals. They really do a great job of providing entertainment and interaction with the young kids. They are also wonderful to photograph. We brought along a peach and an orange and Erin presented them to two different faeries throughout the day. Our next attraction was the Barely Balanced acrobatic show. This was a new show for us and we were impressed by the skill and physical prowess of these three individuals. Our last show of the day was Dirk and Guido, The Swordsmen. We have seen their show every year and can probably quote most of it from memory by now. But you can’t go to BRF without seeing them at least once a year.

Normally, we stay until the gates close but everyone was tired as this was the last day of a long week of vacation and traveling. We left the faire around 5pm knowing that we would be back later in the month.

Here We Go Again

July 24, 2009

Tomorrow morning, we are loading up the van again and heading out for our second annual family vacation road trip. Last year, we went east and visited many locations in the wonderful state of Pennsylvania. This year, we are headed in the opposite direction to the great state of South Dakota. Our plans include De Smet, the Corn Palace, Wall Drug, the Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, Rapid City, and a few other stops depending on our mood.

If the weather cooperates when we return, we also plan on making our annual trek to the Bristol Renaissance Faire next weekend. This will make four years in a row and our third year dressing in renaissance clothes for the faire. That makes it so much more fun.

Just like last year, I plan to make regular updates of our progress. I am even hoping to be able to upload some pictures of the sites we see. So stayed tuned for our next exciting adventure.

Go See Noises Off!

June 13, 2009

A.J. and I went to see Noises Off! at Sunset Playhouse last night. Oh My God, it was fantastic. It was probably the funniest show I’ve seen on stage in a couple of years. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have to go see it before it closes. There are three more performances this weekend and four more next weekend. The action of the show revolves around the rehearsing and performing of another show, Nothing On, as seen from onstage and backstage. As actors ourselves, A.J. and I found the subject matter incredibly funny. On top of that, the pratfalls and physical humor were hilarious.

The show was extremely well cast. From what I hear, that was almost certainly a very difficult task. Because this is such a popular show among actors, there was an incredible turn out for auditions. I’m told that more than a hundred individuals showed up. I can’t imagine trying to choose nine individuals so perfectly out of a hundred possibilities.

The entire cast was amazing. There wasn’t a weak performance in the bunch. Personally, I was partial to the performances of Jenny Kosek and Ruth Arnell. I have been in shows with both of them together and separately and they are so very good at what they do. Ruth always seems to get cast in the role of the ditzy blonde bombshell. She has mastered that role and performs it so well in this show. On a side note, Ruth has also done some shows where her character has a lot more depth and she plays those parts just as well. Jenny played the part of the harried stage manager and she was equally awesome. I have seen Jenny play so many different roles in the last couple of years and she always turns in a stellar performance. It was nice to see her cast in role of something other than a teenager.

The other two standout performances from my perspective were those of Matthew J. Patten and Randall T. Anderson. Matthew was perfectly suited for the role that he played. He seems to excel in the parts where physical comedy is a requirement. Randall did a great job as the half-witted actor. We had seen Randall a couple of years ago playing the Evil Sheriff at the Bristol Renaissance Faire and this part was so different from that one. He is an extremely versatile actor.

We have seen several shows at Sunset Playhouse in the last couple of seasons. They seem to run hot and cold. Some of them have been pretty awful while the others have been absolutely amazing. This one falls into the latter category. Go to their website and order your tickets right now. You do not want to miss this one.

A Second Trip to the Renaissance Faire

August 13, 2008

On Sunday, we made our second trip of the season to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. We got a hold of some free passes to the Faire and decided to take another trip into the past. We had planned to wait another week before going but the weather was so wonderful last weekend that we didn’t want to risk it. I am really glad that we didn’t wait because we had a fantastic time. We had just been to the Faire so we didn’t have anything that we HAD to do. We were free to wander and choose whatever events tickled us at the moment.

Last time, A.J. and I had seen Moonie and we wanted Kristi and Erin to see him because the show was so good. While we were waiting for that show, we decided to see the Doktor Kaboom show. His show was just as good as the Moonie show. The show is all about science but in a totally fun way. My favorite part was the air cannon that he made out of a large steel drum and a shower curtain. A.J. even got to participate by catching hard-boiled eggs thrown from a trebuchet. After Doktor Kaboom, we headed over to catch Moonie. He was just as entertaining as he had been two weeks earlier. I laughed so hard that I was in tears for most of the show.

After sitting through two shows, we decided to wander a while and look at the shops. We were also going to eat lunch but it was noon and the lines at the food stalls were very long. We spent some time looking at and taking pictures of several of the Fantasikals (Erin took some amazing pictures) and made our way down to the Court Glade. While we were there, we watched a bit of the ceremony where the Queen presented her court. It was a little boring for the kids but I found it very interesting.

After that, we were able to get some lunch as the crowds had lessened a little. The remainder of the day was spent wandering, shopping, and enjoying the atmosphere of the Renaissance. A.J. and I managed to challenge each other in a fencing match. Luckily I won. I wouldn’t have heard the end of it otherwise. In late afternoon, we caught the Robyn Hoode show. It was very well done. I was in awe of the fight choreography. As we left, we were all glad that we got to experience an additional fun day in Bristol this year.

A Trip to Bristol

July 27, 2008

Yesterday we finished up a fantastic vacation with a wonderful trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Kristi had purchased the tickets for me for our anniversary last December and I couldn’t wait to use them. This was our third trip to the Faire in three consecutive years. We also continued a tradition that we started last year by dressing in period costume. All of us had minor tweaks to what we wore last year, becoming more authentic with each successive visit. We got there about fifteen minutes before the gates opened and got to watch the Welcome to the Faire show over the front gate.

Soon after the gates opened, we were wandering through the streets of Bristol admiring the items in the shops and interesting sites at the Faire. Our first stop was The Ded Bob Sho. Kristi and I had seen Bob and Smuj at the Michigan Renaissance Festival in 1993. It was just as funny yesterday as it was back then. A.J. said that he really enjoyed the show. Afterwards, we wandered over to the Court Glade and watched a bit of the Courtly Music & Dance.

As we made our way back to next show we were planning to see, we ran into Jane the Phoole. Both A.J. and Erin told jokes to Jane and she gave each of them a button with her likeness on it. At this point the boys separated from the girls. Kristi and Erin went to the Princess Pic-Nic in the Kids Kingdom while A.J. and I went to see The Wit of Will. That show was extremely good. Will (Shakespeare) retells one of his stories in a modern way for the average person to understand. He told the story of Hamlet for us. At times, I was laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

After our separate events, we met up and went to the Cheshire Chase Action Stage to see For Queen & Country – A Royal Spectacle followed by Dirk and Guido. This was the third year in a row seeing the Swordmens and even though they are extremely funny, the show has not changed much at all. We decided that we will probably skip them the next time we come. Afterwards, we ate a little bit, watched just a bit of the joust (it was too hot, too crowded, and very slow to get started) and then walked around looking in the shops.

We split up one more time in the late afternoon. A.J and I went to see Moonie, who is an extremely good juggler and tightrope walker. Erin and Kristi headed back to the Kids Kingdom where Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, bestowed the title of Lady to Erin during the Knighting Ceremony. We finished up our day by making a few purchases and heading out. We left at closing time. We had been there for the entire Faire day and we all had a wonderful time.

On the Road with The Dramagoons

July 18, 2008

Bright and early (… and I mean really early) tomorrow morning, we are loading up the van and heading out of for a family vacation road trip. Earlier this year we discussed as a family where we should go on our vacation this summer. Erin had done a social studies project on Pennsylvania and really wanted to see some of the places she had read about. The rest of the family said “Why not”, so we started planning a road trip. We are going to Gettysburg, Philadelphia, Valley Forge, Hershey and a couple other smaller stops along the way.

If the weather cooperates when we return, we also plan on making our annual trek to the Bristol Renaissance Faire next weekend. This will be our third year in a row. Last year, we started dressing in renaissance clothes for the faire. It makes it that much more fun.

If things go the way I hope, a plan to make regular updates of our progress. I am even hoping to be able to upload some pictures of the sites we see. So stayed tuned for our next exciting adventure.


August 19, 2007

At The Bristol Renaissance Faire

The Renaissance Faire in Bristol was the place to be on Saturday. Well, it was for our family anyway. We had gone once last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to go in period costume this year. This was scout weekend and scouts and their families got in at reduced rate. We’ve been planning on this weekend all summer. The forecast called for afternoon rain and we hoped and prayed that it would hold off long enough for us to have a good time. I took a bunch of pictures while we were there. You can see them at my Flickr site.

Taking a Break

We arrived in time to see the opening ceremonies at the front gate. This is the 20th year for the faire and the theme this year is Feaste of Fooles. Before lunch, we spent time looking at the shops and the kids dug in the Dig Pit for treasure like they did last year. They also participated in a game with Robyn Hood and the Lord High Sheriff in the Kids Kingdom. The game resulted in the Lord High Sheriff skulking away in a dress acting like a squid. It started to sprinkle around noon and we took the opportunity to run back out to the car for lunch.

Jane the Phoole

It sprinkled on and off the rest of the afternoon. We spent most of the afternoon at shows. First, we caught the Royal Spectacle of Fooles featuring the Queen and Jane the Phoole. After that, we got to see Dirk and Guido, the Swordsmen. Their show is very entertaining. There was a lot of swordplay and humor involved. They even attempted to transform several of the men in the audience into renaissance men. I’m not sure that they were completely successful. Our last show of the day was Broon! I swear I almost wet my pants, he was so funny. He is a magician/comedian with some incredible wit. If I had ever seen him before, we may not have stayed for the show. His humor is amazing but laced with comments not completely appropriate for the younger set. Luckily, most of it went whizzing over their heads.

We finished the day by buying a few trinkets on the way out. As we were walking out, the rain started to really come down. Almost near perfect timing. On the way home, we all talked about how much we want to come back again next year.