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2006 My most memorable experience


The most memorable experience for me in 2006 was the evening performance of The Mandragola at Festival.

My character, Sira, was required to come on stage before the last act and occupy the audience's attention so they did not grow restless while the other characters were changing costumes backstage. This little interlude was usually performed in conjunction with Master Hrolf but due to an oversight, we realised just as the play was opening that no one had contacted him to be part of this reprise performance. So Master Steffan asked whether I could just improvise for a few minutes in order to give the actors time enough to change. As I stood backstage, I wracked my brains trying to think of what I might do. With just 10 minutes until my impromptu I had a "Eureka Moment". I slipped out the side of the feasting tent and snuck alongside the wall and re-entered the tent at the back. I secreted two two-litre bottles of cider into my cloak and snuck backstage again.

The scene ended and I took a deep breath and stepped out on stage. In character I announced that I was the kind of girl who could hold her liquor. I was desirous that I might prove this and so challenged a member of the audience to a "skulling" competition. The audience "nominated", "volunteered" if your will, Sir Berenger of Nancy.

My bravado was flagging as this gentle is renowned for his capacity to consume outrageous amounts of alcohol. I desperately hoped that he would not acquiesce their appointment of him as competitor, but he succumbed to peer pressure. I was eager not to reveal the intimidation that I so keenly felt and so handed him the bottle and began to drink. The audience was astir with cheers and shouts of encouragement but above the din I could hear the cackles of wicked laughter echoing from my ever supportive laurel.

It soon became apparent that the enemy would soon overtake me unless I devised some cunning stratagem that would ensure my dishonourable opponent's defeat. Therefore, I was forced to employ some underhanded tactics. What can I say, dirty things happen in war. Ultimately though, it was I who overcame and triumphed on the night. After my victory was complete and Berenger had returned to the audience shame faced, the play ended and my memory of the night completes there because anything I may have done subsequently is lost in a cidery blur. Needless to say, my palette no longer wishes the taste of cider to pass my lips again!