[Bards] Performing in court

Gerald Norris jerryn at houston.rr.com
Wed Feb 21 21:53:33 PST 2007

If asked to entertain the populace, it is important to try to remember that
the nobility think enough of your abilities to trust you to do something
entertaining while they carry on whatever business they need to do while
you're thrown to the wolv... Er... Audience.

Preparation?  If you're a singer, have some good singalongs in the three to
five minute range.  If a wordsmith, a short story that has, as part of it's
telling, something that will draw the audience in.  If an instrumentalist,
try to have something quick (Irish, Italian, or Galecian).  

If appropriate, I'll move around a bit, make eye contact, and generally try
to connect with the crowd; remember that they're going to be understanding
and ready for whatever you throw at them. 

Loud is good, soft is bad, unless you can carry soft off, in which case just
do what you'd like to do.  I say three to five minutes because many issues
are settled within that time and it's good not to wind up into a twenty
minute tale; the nobility are understanding, but they're seeking a passing
act as they get things done "behind the scene.  It's important to remember
that you are, in essence, filler.  Just be good filler.

If the performance is interrupted (the person has been found, the scroll
signed, dot dot dot, and the nobility are trying to hurry through court
(food is ready, rain is coming, or the Baron has to go to the jakes), bow
out as gracefully as possible and move along.  If there's a bardic circle,
start the piece over if requested.  If not, don't do it unless you need to
just to bring closure.

The simple fact that a good bard is required to be entertaining is
insidiously unsimple.  Some people will have more flair than others for it,
but in any case, do your best, don't blanch if you make a mistake, and
remember to try to enjoy the performance; it shows.

In service to the dream with a song in my heart, I am,
HL Gerald of Leesville
A bard of Stargate 

-----Original Message-----
From: bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org
[mailto:bards-bounces at lists.ansteorra.org] On Behalf Of Katherine of
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:24 PM
To: bards at lists.ansteorra.org
Subject: [Bards] Performing in court

This is a question--well, a series of
questions--particularly for the veteran bards and entertainers out there,
but open to anyone who has advice to offer.

Do you have any tips on what one should do when asked to keep the populace
entertained before court? 
Entertain, obviously--but how best to go about it? 
Let us assume the prerequisite of being prepared and more or less capable.

Do you generally remain where you are, or move to front and center?  Do you
announce yourself, or just launch right into your performance?  If an
interruption occurs, do you bow out or try harder to hold the audience's
attention?  How best do you walk the thin line between doing what has been
asked of you, and inflicting yourself on a captive audience that may not be
entirely interested?  Is it simply the job of a good bard to make sure they
*are* interested?

I'm not asking for specific answers to that whole barrage of questions, but
it's dawned on me that I don't even know how much I don't know.  I had my
first experience with court performance last weekend, and I'd like to be
better prepared next time.  Any thoughts from those wiser and more seasoned
than myself would be very much appreciated.

In service,
Catrin ferch Maelgwn

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