by Lillian Csernica on April 26, 2022
“Aside from being fun to say, verisimilitude (pronounced ‘VAIR-ih-sih-MILL-ih-tude’) simply means ‘the quality of resembling reality.’ A work of art, or any part of a work of art, has verisimilitude if it seems realistic.” — literaryterms.net
And now for another story from the days when I worked the Northern Renaissance Faire. My husband and I both worked for the fencing booth which was done up like a
pirate ship privateer vessel. The booth was quite popular. At any given time we’d have at least six students out “on deck” receiving their half hour fencing lessons from members of our crew. Out front there was a seating area with hay bales where guests could sit in the shade of our “sails” and watch competition-level fencers have bouts on the stage/strip. A crow’s nest rose high above the audience where one of the hawkers or even the Captain himself might stand.
The crow’s nest plays a key role in this story. Every morning our day began with Roll Call. Depending on how big a crowd had already gathered, the person up in the crow’s nest might be the First Mate or one of the other officers. Roll Call was a lot of fun. The audience got to see us all called on by our Faire names and replying in character. On this particular day the fellow calling roll was one of the hawkers, a man with a gift for jokes and word play. Somebody had the bright idea of turning the tables on him. The idea was passed around among the crew. Instead of the usual “Aye aye!” or “I be ‘ere, sir!’ or “Shut yer gob, ye sniveling mumblecrust!”, we replied with a bit more creativity and respect.
“Aye aye, Yer Vastness!”
“Right ‘ere, Your Garrulity!”
“Present, Yer Delightfulness!
“Right you are, Your Splendor!
The hawker up in the crow’s nest kept snorting and chuckling and trying to get a grip. We had a good two dozen people on crew, so Roll Call took a little time. y turn came.
“Mistress Andalyn Fortune!”
I took a deep breath, readied my best projection, and stepped forward.
“At your service, Your Verisimilitude!”
That one did it. The hawker burst out laughing, dropped his clip board, crossed hid arms on the railing of the crow’s nest, and rested his forehead on his arms.
It was fun playing a pirate. People expected you to steal the show.