Monday, July 13, 2009

Releasing the Inner Fae . . .

This weekend was the opening for Bristol Renaissance Faire, and it was also my first weekend as Gaia. I cannot even adequately express what the weekend was like; there are so many stories, so many amazing children I interacted with . . . Michaela, Jeffrey, little Tabitha, and others whose names I never got, like the little girl with the gold roses in her hair who followed me around the faire site all Sunday and gave me a hug before she left. Children truly are little blessings; without their belief that we are magical, we are just performers in pretty makeup, but when their eyes light up and they look at us with wonder, we truly do become what we are trying to be: Fantastickals.
I learned quite a bit about myself this weekend, about my body, about pushing past my own limits, about my confidence and my insecurities. I spent a great deal of Saturday feeling as though I had to keep moving, keep entertaining, as though I could not just sit and rest or I would not be pulling my own weight. My director said something very simple to me Sunday morning: "Find your stillness. Plant your heels on the ground." I did both a lot more on Sunday, and I felt the difference. As a Street performer, I was drilled with the need to be larger than life, bigger, funnier . . . but as fae, we are silent and still, and when I planted myself at the base of a tree, children came to me and began to play in quiet ways. It was inexpressively peaceful.

I was worried for some time about being the Singing Faery; Fantastickals have always been silent, and as an experiment I feared that the introduction of any sound would be jarring and unnatural. Thank heavens I ignored that inner monkey and let the sound come forth! I sang to trees, to children, to my fellow fae, and it was extraordinary to watch faces light up as they listened. I felt like the sound was not coming from me, but through me; as though I was translating something that people couldn't hear with their own ears. It was quite an experience, I must say.

Yes, I got a lot of sticks. I will be needinng that twelve-step program at the end of the run;) But, how lucky we are that a child so used to pre-packaged, glossy, expensive fun can be mesmerized by the gift of a leaf! I would select a leaf from the ground, or a rock or a stick, and as they took it they looked at it like it was something else entirely: perhaps it was a gift of faith. These children must one day find out, if they haven't already, that Santa is not real, that the characters in their favorite films are just computer pixels, and that the world is out there just waiting to disillusion them. But, for a few hours, I hope we are able to reward their belief in the magical; every child deserves to have that experience, and if I can help in that, then I feel blessed.

Though most people did not know who I was (I was called Tree Nymph a lot), I didn't mind at all. They understood us, by and large, and that was all that mattered. I cannot wait to continue this journey as the season goes on; already I feel myself slowing the world down and looking at things, a leaf, a branch, a firefly, in completely new ways. I am the luckiest girl around.
*Thanks to Naomi for most of the pics, with the exception of the first one!


Anonymous said...

Wow. I am really impressed with your costume making skills - you look great!

I'm also excited for Harry Potter!

Naomi said...

Just checked this out and noticed that I got some cred for pics. You are MOST welcome, and as always, was lovely to see you. See you possibly the 15th and 16th! :) -Naomi