My daughter is a professional actress in Chicago and was given the opportunity to participate in a long term immersive theater experience called Chronicles of the Realm. It would take place over about a year and a half at 4 different events. Because she is a minor, one of us had to be there to watch out for her. Each event was out of town for several days. My husband used to be a professional actor so he was the obvious choice to participate. I, not being a participator or joiner, would be a terrible choice. All good, right? Wrong. He went to the first rehearsal and they decided they needed to cast him instead. He would be in a different area from her therefore he couldn’t be her guardian. Guess who was left to choose from? Yep, me.
I had to wear a costume because I couldn’t be the only one there in regular clothes…it would take the players out of the game. I had to have a character. I thought that if I was her handmaid that would explain my hovering and if I was mute, I wouldn’t have to participate. I brought knitting that I do quite badly and kept myself out of the way in corners trying to hide. I was in a god-awful outfit that was extremely uncomfortable and because the universe hates me, I got my period the first night there. I had on layers people. Lots of layers. And a long skirt that was so much fabric. Trying to gather that up and deal with a toilet and not get blood everywhere was not pleasant.
The first weekend something happened that I didn’t imagine even in my wildest dreams. I had fun. A lot of fun. A ridiculous amount of fun and I grieved when it ended. The next time was pretty much the same for me. Dressed up, no period, thank god, and had a great time, but I still hid most of the time. The third time is why it is on the list. Molly and I were to pretend to be pirates at this event and we were to sneak into the camp on day two in the morning. I had quite a bit of experience now doing really scary brave things so I wasn’t too surprised by my desire to participate at first. I dressed up, joined the game, and interacted with the players despite my muteness. One of the pirates had brought a fabric sign. I used that to communicate by pointing to the letters on the fabric as the pirates tried to decipher the words I was spelling. Most of the time is was some horrible swear word that I was calling someone. My character is an angry handmaid. The rest of the time they would get through this whole long line of letters only to yell at me in frustration as they realized it spelled, “That’s what she said.” Yet again.
This was the first time I played the game. This was the first time I really fully engaged. I hate costumes. I was terrible at Halloween. The girl I used to nanny for can attest to that. I’m so bad at Halloween that when she was two years old her family had a party and I came dressed in all black with antennae on my head. She looked at me and said, “What’s this?” I said, “I’m a bug.” She replied back, “Do you have a bug costume?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “Maybe next time you could wear it.” Ouch. But this time I did it. I dressed up, I played and I had fun. Sometimes bravery is allowing yourself to look foolish.
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