If you had asked me yesterday, I would have told you my Tempore Atlantia entry was 'eh,' my Poeta entry was solid, that I expected to make the second round of the Royal Bardic and hoped to make the third, and that Robin Hood would be fun. Some of those expectations were met; some were exceeded; and then there was the Royal Bardic.
In true SCA form, scheduling ended up being flexible. We actually performed at 12:15pm, not 11am per the site schedule. Know what? Nobody appeared to notice or care. I did not ring the halls for audience; none of the other groups performing during the day did either. It felt vaguely rude to 'Oyez' through people's holiday conversations without a damn good reason. But the performance space was well-peopled and we ended up with a good audience.
Also in true SCA form, there were last-minute emergencies with the cast and last-minute changes. Young Lady Eleanor stepped in to be our Potter. Lady Patricia came nearly directly from her car to the stage. All that said? We had time to choreograph the fight scene to some degree and walk through the blocking of the scenes; I sang the entire ballad through 2-3 times, which greatly helped the expressiveness of the final version.
I was too busy reading my lines off the sheet to really watch what we were doing, and I was looking at the audience when I wasn't looking at the sheet. So I don't know how it looked, but the audience had happy faces and were watching attentively. We were rambunctious and amusing and it was all good.
Main bobble: I had it in my head that I would be toddler-wrangling and would need that arm to carry him, and so could not ring the tambourine. When my lord husband co-opted the child as a Merry Man, I had my hand back but neglected the tambourine. That would have helped keep us together musically, I think, but I quickly started really listening to the musicians' pickup notes to keep me together with them.
My feedback was very complimentary; the main critique was that copies of the neume notation and the original French poem would have been good. And they would have been. The piece apparently made quite an impression, which still befuddles me slightly, as it was an interpretation rather than an original work. But I'm glad!
There were three entrants into the Poeta competition. Due to toddler, we had to leave early, so I don't know who won, but again, I apparently made quite an impression. Again, I am slightly puzzled. Later in the week, I will explain what I consider to be the differences between a poet and a wordsmith and why I consider myself to be the latter. But maybe that's good enough.
Insanity, they say, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Almost every bardic competition I enter, I decide to do the Latest and Greatest thing I have put together, which is also the Least Polished thing I have. And every bardic competition, I give a mediocre performance of something really cool at the very edge of my development.
The words that shouldn't go in the same sentence are "competition" and "mediocre."
I did the same thing. At the last minute, I decided "Wulf and Eadwacer" would be more impressive than the old reliable "Norman and Saxon." It may have been, if I was not off-key, nervous, forgot a stanza (but no one knew, booyah!) and generally kind of off. Given the quality of the other entrants, a little off was a little too much. My documentation was dazzling, but the performance was just Not All That Good.
The Royal Bards' advice, as they regretfully and sensitively thanked me for participating in Round One but informed me I would not be advancing to Round Two, was to stop doing that. So. If I compete for Baronial Bard in April, I will not do that. I will either pick a Really Cool but New piece now and practice the hell out of it to prepare it for competition (not just for performance!) or I will do something I have already practiced the hell out of.