Renaissance Festival: 4

In Pittsburgh on September 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Renaissance Faire 016

At the archery booth, a long-haired cashier wearing a peasant dress asks, “May I help you, My Lord?”

“Uh, sure,” I say, shaking off my discomfort. “Could I have a bow and ten arrows?”

“Very good, My Lord.”

Next to me, a teenager in a pirate costume asks for the same. “Good day, Dear Lady,” he says to the cashier. “Might I have a quiver of ten arrows, if you please? Shall we away to the archery field, dear father?”

The teen’s father is also dressed as a pirate, but his expression is tortured. Catering to his son, this man fears he’ll never feel attractive again.

“Sure,” he says, handing $6 to the cashier.

Visitors often bring their own “period” garments, such as puffy shirts and tightly-strung corsets, but they can also rent outfits from an on-site costume booth. Guests show their enthusiasm through their vestments: They wear caps and cloaks, wide leather belts and cuffed riding boots. A middle-aged woman passes us, and although her face has soured with age and too much make-up, her bosom bounces in its corset; this is the one occasion, besides Halloween, that she can flaunt herself so abundantly.

As a result, it’s sometimes hard to tell who is a hired actor and who just dresses up for fun. And aside from the paycheck at the end of the day, what exactly is the difference?


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