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NYRF

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Pirate at Heart

It's an odd day for me; an hour ago the opening cannon of the New York Renaissance Faire boomed across the shire of Sterling, and I was not there to hear it. It's a curious feeling, sitting at work at a computer, instead of shouting in a forest at strangers.

I haven't written a post in almost a month. I've been busy writing scripts for my roommate's radio show, working out details for a September staged reading of my play, and beginning pre-production on a new collaborative interpretation of Othello that I got the idea for when I was in the show last fall. I've also been working a lot, in preparation for the almost-unemployment I will be facing in September, when I know I will have far more time for my artistic endeavors.

I have had to say no to some great opportunities for the month of August, but the one exception approaches next week: I will be spending four days at the New York summer sling, the regional stage combat workshop sanctioned by the SAFD (society of American fight directors) that takes place every summer. Due to my years of participation in the Renaissance Faire, this is the first year I've been able to go, and I'm thrilled to say I was accepted into the choreographer track, an elite group of advanced actor combatants (AACs) who want to hone their skills as fight choreographers, directors, and actors.

While I've never attended before, I know many people who have, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to learn a ton, grow as an artist, and meet new people in the industry. The fight community is pretty tight-knit, and as I've been involved in it for about six years now I am constantly running into old friends and familiar names (such as half of the teachers for the event) but I know there will be new faces as well. I'm not the best at networking or meeting new people in general, but if there's a context in which I'm most comfortable, it's with sword in hand.

Though I'm not at the faire this year, my pirate spirit is still strong. The soul of a pirate is adventurous, resourceful, courageous and clever. Always persistent and independent, sometimes reckless and short-tempered, loyal to their own best interests, but also fiercely protective of their crew. I identify with all of those traits, both the good and the bad. So it is with a slightly heavy heart that I sit in New York City today, instead of in the not-so-far-off far-away land of Sterling (in Tuxedo, NY). I think of my pirate sister, Lauren, and my pirate parents, Jack and Eleanor, who have treated me like family since the day they met me. It is difficult to be away from that network of support, but the pirate adventures on, to new shores, this time the shores of Brooklyn College. (That's a terrible metaphor, I know. I'm not perfect.)

Below are some of my favorite images from each summer I've spent being a British anachronistic weirdo (not to be confused with my daily life as an American anachronistic weirdo). Click to enlarge images. Safe sailing friends. Now bring me that horizon.

NYRF 2015, opening weekend - a fight with my favorite pirate during the melee on the joust field, and an interesting pairing of sword & buckler vs. trident (very nautical).

NYRF 2014, opening weekend - spear has never been my favorite weapon (I always prefer steel) but I had a blast with this three-way fight, getting filthy on the chess board every weekend.

NYRF 2013, opening weekend - this fight was choreographed only two weeks beforehand and on my first day at the faire I performed it in front of hundreds of people (this was how I became known for broadsword fights - in three skirts, no less).

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