[Bards] Performing in court
rudin at ev1.net
Thu Feb 22 07:42:02 PST 2007
Before court, you have sort of an audience. You have people collecting in
chairs where the Crown or Baron/ess will soon be performing, and it's a
bigger audience than at most bardic circles or competitions. But they
haven't committed to listening yet, and they aren't there to listen to
bards. Right now (if you're the first bard called up) they are talking to
So why are they there? Some of them want to see the show -- the pomp of
court, the royal speeches, the people being elevated. But a large
percentage are only there to find out the news, (The next time you're in
court, turn and watch how many many are listening attentively to the name of
the person and the name of the award, but aren't listening to anything
So you have sort of an audience. This means that you have to earn the right
to their attention.
First and foremost, this means volume. You are competing with conversation,
and you can't win unless they hear what you're saying. Within a minute,
this problem should solve itself, and you can drop down to your usual bardic
volume. (If they're still mostly talking after a minute, get off stage
quickly -- you don't have an audience.)
You're the warm-up act. Your job is to get people feeling good, so they
will be in a more receptive mood by the time court starts.
I find that this is no time for a tragedy or calm piece. Either a funny
piece or a raucous Ansteorran cheerleading piece is best.
Timing is a weird question. Shorter pieces are better for purposes of
holding an entertaining this audience, but somebody asked you up there
specifically to fill the dead time. So while your audience doesn't want
your very longest pieces, your patrons don't want your very shortest pieces,
Matching the event is always good. At Namron Protectorate, tell any funny
or inspiring story you have about Namron or Protectorate. At Crown, tell
about previous Crown tourneys or previous kings.
Finnacan's point about telling a joke at his own expense is good advice.
You can't go wrong telling a joke at Finnacan's expense.
Pay attention to the crowd. When they start talking to each other again,
you should have finished thirty seconds ago.
But most important, HAVE FUN. Fun is infectious, and that's the point of
being a bard.
Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
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