Junior and mother work at Renaissance Festival

Junior Samantha Meyers and her mother Inger share their experiences working at the Renaissance Festival


By Photo by Madeline Lamons

Samantha Meyers plays her role at the opening of the Renaissance Festival on Sunday, Oct. 6.

Junior Samantha Meyers and her mother, Inger Meyers, started participating in the  Kansas City Renaissance Festival this year.

At the festival, Samantha’s character is the Lord Mayor’s oldest daughter. She plays a sixteen-year-old and is in the royal court. According to Samantha, her character is a “loud, obnoxious brat.” Samantha enjoys being part of the royal court. Unlike the people lower than her, she has the privilege of being able to joke in public.

“I can make fun of others in public since I am in the royal court,” Samantha said. “In Canteburry, the only people higher than I are my parents basically. My moms’ character can’t do that though; getting caught joking about others could cost her her head.”

Inger plays a traveling Romani. According to Inger, the Romani are what most people in the United States would call “gypsies,” but that name has a very negative connotation in Europe, so they are trying to steer away from the use of that word. She is part of Heartsfire, which is a Romani dance group.

“Travelers are considered outsiders,” Inger said. “So basically, I am slightly lower than dirt.”

To prepare for the festival, both Inger and Samantha went through months of training to perfect their characters’ roles.

“You have to be willing to put in the time and be dedicated,” Inger said. “It’s a lot of work, but it is so worth it.”

Inger began dance classes for the Romani at the end of January. Cuts were made from the Romani, and the dance group called “Heartsfire” was created. Auditions were in March, and the final cast was created. Her training lasted from January to two weeks before the festival. From there, she went to classes weekly. At the festival, she dances about seven times a day.

“Basically, we perform a dance show about wanting to have a dance show,” Inger said. “It’s  a lot of  fun.”

For Samantha, she attended acting, accent and other character development classes three times a week to prepare for the season and her role. She went from the end of May to the middle of August, spending up to twelve hours in classes every week.  At the festival, she is part of the scenario scenes, which is the story throughout the day that goes on in Canteburry. For scenario, she is in five scenes, which also includes a “human combat chess match” that she narrates. On top of that, she acts in the introduction at the front gate, the royal court dance and sing, the pub sing and the last huzzah.

“You put on the costume and the brain after a while just switches modes,” Samantha said.

The actors and cast at the festival have to make anyone they interact with feel good about themselves.

“Part of our task is that any interaction we have with anybody in the crowd, at least one of three things needs to happen,” Inger said. “We need to entertain them, make them feel good about themselves or educate them about something that has to do with that time period. Preferably all three.”

Inger enjoys preforming for people each weekend.

“I like being able to perform for people,” Inger said. “I really enjoy dancing, and I love the fact that I have a crowd to dance for every day.”

Samantha has grown individually from the festival experience.

“My favorite thing is how much it has changed how I look at myself and who I am,” Samantha said. “It pushes me to new limits.”

Both Samantha and Inger agreed that one of the best parts of the Renaissance festival has been the friends they have made.

“The people I perform with make it so much fun,” Samantha said, “Even in the cold and rain.”

Inger appreciates the feedback she gets from the people she works with and the friendships that have developed.

“We’ve really made a lot of new friends,” Inger said. “Most people there are very supportive. It’s like a big family. Of course you have some of those people that you don’t want to be around, but most of the time it’s people who are there to encourage you, to help you do what you’re there to do and help you do it better than what you thought you could.”

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