Patty McArthur carries her handmade Queen Elizabeth the 1st Costumes outside the Olympic Theatre Arts building Aug.9 in Sequim. She will be the reigning monarch of the OTA “Kings and Queens and Royal Scenes Renaissance Faire” on Aug. 21-22. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Patty McArthur carries her handmade Queen Elizabeth the 1st Costumes outside the Olympic Theatre Arts building Aug.9 in Sequim. She will be the reigning monarch of the OTA “Kings and Queens and Royal Scenes Renaissance Faire” on Aug. 21-22. Sequim Gazette photo by Emily Matthiessen

Make way for the queen: OTA gears up for ‘Kings, Queens, and Royal Scenes Renaissance Faire’, Aug. 21-11

  • Wednesday, August 11, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

A local actress playing Queen Elizabeth I will grace the parking lot of Sequim’s Olympia Theatre Arts this month.

“The Queen has come to decide if the theatre is to be opened,” said Patty McArthur last week, practicing her role as Elizabeth. “Master Shakespeare will entertain her with his many plays.”

McArthur will be dressed in a costume of her own making which she has worn in many a Renaissance Fair at Olympic Theatre Arts’ “Kings, Queens, and Royal Scenes Renaissance Faire,” set for noon-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 21-22.

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the OTA website (olympictheatrearts.org) or at the event: adults $12, members $10, and children $5.

Producer/director Richard Stephens said that event will be, “all outside, a true English country faire.” Activities and fun are offered for a “bit of coin”: Attendees can use their credit card in conjunction with a numbered medallion to make purchases, or they can buy a bag of coins for $5 each, four in a bag.

The event features a fortune-teller and a storyteller, a fairy garden and more. Stephens said there will be, “hay bales, shields and heraldic devices.”

He said actors will perform six scenes from the works of William Shakespeare for the court and audience.

“I pulled the scenes together and wrote the scenario for the event,” Stephens said.

All scenes will features kings or queens. The scenes were pulled from these plays: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Hamlet,” “King Lear,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “Henry V” and “A Winter’s Tale.”

Stephens said that two years ago McArthur attended up as Queen Elizabeth.

“She was such a delight I invited her back to build the show around her,” Stephens said.

McArthur said she decided to go to the last renaissance faire in costume. No one else there had dressed like a queen. She received a warm welcome and said she “had such fun,” that she was happy to accept Stephens’ invitation.

Visitors can attend the faire in costume or plain clothes. “Time travelers are welcome,” said organizers, “but we highly encourage people to come in costume.”

Costumes need not be perfectly historically accurate, they noted, as faire members are not perfectly accurate either, just close.

“It’s anachronistic,” said one of the organizers. “Wenches in tennis shoes.”

Activities abound

Beefeater and experienced fencer Steve Frederickson will give a free fencing demonstration and offer lessons for a fee.

Cartoonist and Animator Jim Bradrick will raise money for the non-profit community theatre by sketching caricatures of visitors; see a preview of his work at bradrick.com.

Stephens said that the grand procession of Queen Elizabeth and her ladies in waiting, escorted by the royal beefeaters, will be at 1:30 pm. Her retinue will not be numerous; McArthur explained that “We are here to visit this small village of Sequim,” and thus, “the full court is not here.”

Visitors can help the Queen build her court by paying $40 for a catered lunch and a seat near her in the court to watch the performance.

More food will be available from a food truck run by the Sequim Lions. Drinks will be served at the Pub.

OTA marketing director Pete Griffin said that the Lions are paying all the expenses related to the food truck and donating half of the proceeds to the theatre.

There are about 46 volunteers and a handful of staff involved in pulling off the event, according to Sarah Jane Benjamin and Cathy Wagner. The pair are in charge of “atmosphere and auxiliary actors” — meaning the volunteers who work in character at the faire. These actors must improvise while attempting to use old time language while operating the attractions.

Although roles are already filled and actors have chosen their costumes, the theater “could use a bit of help with labor, Friday morning set up and Sunday teardown.”

Organizers have been planning the event since March. It was planned for outside, following safety protocols. All volunteers will be masked except for the actors when they are on stage.

OTA recommends and encourages attendees to wear masks.

Wagner and Benjamin said that some volunteers’ masks match their costumes, but they advise people to wear what is most comfortable.

At the faire, attendees can participate in darts, card, knucklebones and other games. There will be a prize board with a chance to win a vacation package. Benjamin and Wagner said there will be a prize board with lots of prizes. Services like gardening or caricature art by Bradrick could be won or a vacation package, among other prizes.

OTA will also host a paddle raise. “Raise the Paddle is like a backwards auction,” Griffin explained. The auctioneer starts out with a high amount and asks who will donate that amount, someone raises their paddle to pledge that amount, the crowd“huzzahs!” and then the amount is dropped again and again until reaching the lowest bid.

Money raised from the paddle will be used for exterior enhancements of the theatre. They want it to look “more like a theater and less like a church building,” Griffin said.

New to the faire this year are additional “wandering minstrels,” including a lute player, a harpist and a Pied Piper, as well as children’s games, fortune-telling and even a “Plague Rat” version of Cornhole,” Griffin noted in a press release.

Attendees can park at Sequim High School or First Federal Bank. Also, the bus stop is nearby.

This is the second year of the Renaissance Faire, though OTA has been hosting Shakespeare events for much longer. Last year’s faire was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic; in 2019, the theme was “Shakespeare’s Wit and Wisdom.”

For more about Olympic Theatre Arts, visit olympictheatrearts.org.

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