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Author Topic: Help with Bits?  (Read 1735 times)

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Offline CapnJack

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Help with Bits?
« on: May 09, 2011, 01:29:02 AM »
Hello all!  I'm extremely new to this area of the forums here (in fact, I believe this may be my first time ever posting outside of my home faire's individual forum), but I have a request, and I figure it's best to put it to the boards at large, since more people will see it here, and theoritically more people will be able to help me out.

So, if you couldn't tell by my username and avatar, I portray a certain well-known pirate (yes, I'm yet another one) at the Colorado Renaissance Festival (and to be fair, I've been doing it a lot longer than most of them).  In any case, I was on cast at said festival from 2005 through 2008, and then ended up taking two seasons off.  This year I will be returning to the roll, and I really want to come back with a brand new energy, unlike anything I've done there before.

One of the things I always talked about in the past but never actually did much was to create pre-planned bits that could be performed with or without other castmembers, and highly involve patrons, making guests at the faire feel like they're a part of the story, and not just onlookers.  This year, I am determined to come up with several that I can pull out at a moment's notice and play whenever I can.

In order to do this, I'm searching around for good ideas regarding bits I can perform.  Ideally, I'd like ideas that will highly involve patrons and onlookers, and will preferably allow me to interact with them on a one-on-one level.  I really want to "bring people into the adventure" this season.  That means as much suspension of disbeief as I can throw at folks, so to speak.

All thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc. are welcome!  Just remember, whatever it is needs to be all at once entertaining to the individual patron, interesting to the passer-by, clearly understandable to someone without any background info whatsoever, and of course, completely tasteful and appropriate within the limitations of the character.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 01:31:14 AM by CapnJack »
"I've been through some terrible things in my life.  Some of which have actually happened."

-Mark Twain

Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 11:44:59 AM »
I know that you're portraying Jack Sparrow, but what is YOUR Jack Sparrow's purpose in life, and specifically at this particular village in this particular moment? Before creating bits, you need to know the character's motivation for doing them. Does he want power, money, a crew, rum, girls, revenge on the monkey that gave the coin to Barbossa?

Without that information, my initial thoughts are getting people to join the crew (which would probably be tailored for kids and include some sort of test and/or an induction ceremony), some sort of mad-lib story of Jack's adventures that people can act out, and sobriety testing (for adults).

McGuinness

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2011, 02:15:58 PM »
Some "stock" bits are "My Hero" where you endow a patron with having been your hero at some point because they did _____ and tell the story about that (you can get your plate to be the characters or sound effects of the story in addition to your Hero patron), teaching bits where a patron/patrons teach you something or you teach them something, wooing bits where you do the wooing or you have a woo-off or you give someone pointers on how to woo their lady/gent, trunk shows where you tell a story with patrons as the characters/sound effects/etc (fractured fairy tales are always fun or you could use your character's adventures).

Offline CapnJack

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 07:11:59 PM »
Great starting thoughts, thanks folks!  This is definitely the direction I want to go.

Stonebiscuit: As for MY Jack's motivation, I've tried a few different approaches, but overall have never settled on one permanently.  A major factor I'm waiting for is the new movie, so as to potentially use part of the Fountain of Youth quest as an inspiration for Jack's motivation in our shire this season.  However, my basic idea is that Jack is searching for something.  What he's searching for is for him to know, and others only to guess, but he's probably looking for some treasure or another.  Some form of wealth, or otherwise immortality, power, fame, etc.  I have a highly detailed map of the shire, which I drew a year or so back, that has been designed to look like a pirate treasure map.  I fully intend to make copies and use this as a prop as frequently as possible.  And naturally, a major motivation is to evade the authorities, either through some form of trickery, or just plain "being sneaky."

My idea of Jack is heavily influenced by his first scene in the Curse of the Black Pearl, wherein he arrives at the dock, and persuades the harbormaster to enter his name falsely, while simultaneously stealing the harbormaster's coin purse.  That's how I want my Jack to behave - as a lovable rogue, a thief, and a trickster.  Someone who's always looking for the next pocket to pick, or grift to pull.

So, that being said, I do like the idea of doing a bit involving recruiting crewmembers.  I find that those sorts of routines are fairly easy to work out, and are perfect for kids.  Also, your "madlib" idea intrigues me, but I'm not sure I completely follow it.  Could you give an example perhaps?  The sobriety testing bit could be absolutely hilarious as well.

Colleen McGuiness's "my hero" idea also sounds really promising.  I could totally turn it into a "hey, remember that one night in Tortuga?" sketch.

One thing I've really wanted to do for a LONG time was to work out some kind of treasure hunt with both kids and adults, that they could play throughout the day at the faire.  This could be especially fun for kids to do while their parents are shopping, etc.  However, the management in CO are VERY concerned about castmembers handing stuff out to patrons which could potentially turn into litter.  This makes the treasure hunt thing kind of difficult, since I can't give out maps or clues, etc.  One variation I'm going to probably use is to simply go on a fun miniature treasure hunt WITH a kid, using the map I mentioned above.  This way I could just hide a little treasure box somewhere with some coins and stuff in it, and give the kid a coin as a reward at the end.

So... that's what I've got so far.  Thoughts?  Keep 'em coming folks!  ;)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 07:12:28 PM by CapnJack »
"I've been through some terrible things in my life.  Some of which have actually happened."

-Mark Twain

Offline Lady Kett

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 08:15:12 PM »
If you could get yourself a wacky compass, you could ask passers-by if they've seen anything shiny or interesting in that direction, something you're looking for (blue, sparkly, pear shaped, keys etc, pick something). Do some ad-lib with them about what they've seen and take off in that direction. If others wander by, you can ask if they've seen the whatsit the prior person asked you about.

That's my favorite Jack Sparrow bit, the compass! He knows what he's looking for but never quite tells the others what he's looking for.

Well, that and the "But why is the RUM gone?!"

Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2011, 12:28:11 AM »
RE: Madlibs. I've seen this done by getting the audience to give you three words, on the premise that you were drunk and can't remember all of what happened: maybe noun, adjective, and adverb? Then you give the audience characters, plug the words in, and tell the short story, with the "actors" reacting appropriately to things their characters do. A lot of stage shows do this, minus the madlibs part.

I do NOT recommend bits that require you to travel with a patron. If you want to work with treasure, make it a reward for a stationary bit. Maybe Jack is (for instance) under a curse that can only be broken if he gets three (four, ten, however many patrons you have in front of you) to perform XYZ bizarre action. Then when they do it, you all all over yourself to thank them and give them some sort of reward. It doesn't have to be a curse specifically, but you get the idea.

Offline Captain Cornelius Howard Duckman

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Re: Help with Bits?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2011, 02:16:53 AM »
Very simple bit, which i think would work great for a Jack Sparrow: any time you see a ptron with a camera, you can simply call out 'Look out, he's got a Canon!"

 

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