Whether building a booth or an entire Faire you will be a wash in props to help fill out your themed environments. As you go through the expense of creating signs, objects, carts, and furniture for various areas of the event, it helps to apply a Story to it. This can be as simple as who owned it, what it was used (is being used for), and how it relates to other people and objects. This may seem alike a trifle and little worthy of the effort, but objects can have a life of their own and giving them a past helps you better judge where they will go in years to come. Just a bench doesn’t have the same weight as it being Fallstaff’s bench. Having just a cart is not as interesting as it being the “slave cart”, “wench cart” or “dung cart”. Names suggest purpose and in the larger improv environment of a large theatrical event like a Faire, being asked to pick up your mother in-law in the “dung cart” has much more potential then just a regular old cart.
WHERE'S the WIENIE?
This is a phrase stolen from Walt Disney himself. The “wienie” refers to any theme park architecture or element that helps draw the attention or interest of the visiting guests to move from one area to another. Like a carrot on a stick to encourage a horse to move forward, the wienie is a way to entice your audience to continue moving through a space. The Disneyland castle is the perfect example of a “wienie”. Guests visiting Main Street USA are compelled to move down the street by the promise of the castle that lays at the end of it. This technique works equally well within the layout of a Renaissance Faire.
A quick example… while working on the Northern California Renaissance Faire site I noticed a large Greenman figure tucked in among the trees near the front of the Faire. The figure stood over 16 feet tall and was all but invisible surrounded by the dense forest. I requested that the Greenman be moved from this location to a more prominent area under a huge oak tree at the end of a main walkway. I was cautioned that the Greenman and his location were sacred and that much ruin would fall upon me if it were to be found moved. I decided he was majestic enough to warrant relocation and promised to take the full brunt of the ill will, if there was to be any. As the Fair opened the Greenman began to evolve as little ribbons and offerings began to appear at his feet, up his arms, and inside his wooden ribcage. Rather then criticism I received countless message of praise for having finally given the Greenman a location worthy of his stature in both the Faire and hearts of it participants. What I had really done was moved a Story rich monument to a place where others could layer their Story upon him. There is nothing I could have done that would have brought more value to have much loved figure, and I created a powerful centerpiece or “wienie” to boot.