Greetings, readers and loyal patrons! Whilst out on one of my frequent walkabouts of the Festival site, I stopped for a moment at each of our stages, large and small, and was reminded of the many talented performers who grace our faire. Time and again, we have heard from you that you love the entertainment at TRF. We do, too! So, I thought perhaps you might like to get to know the actors and musicians, acrobats and magicians who entertain you so well here at TRF during October and November.
Who better to start with than Clark Orwick, the genius behind the Ded Bob Sho? He packs in audience on the Globe Stage, dressed as Smuj, while manipulating and voicing the irascible Ded Bob, a skeleton with snark.
Clark’s involvement in the arts began early. He grew up in a musical family, sang in choirs, and performed in school plays and musicals. After a twelve year break from the performance world, though, he dove back in: “purely out of boredom, I auditioned for a Community Theater called Onstage Atlanta.My life changed overnight. A few years later, I was cast in a group doing Parodies of Shakespearean Tragedies at the Georgia Renaissance Festival in Atlanta.
The Entertainment Director of the Atlanta festival was also the director of the Maryland festival, and hired me to play the ‘Village Idiot’ in Maryland. I took Ded Bob (a prop from the Shakespeare Parodies) along and just made it all up as I went along. I realized very quickly that the real success was in doing stage shows and in 1988 I got the chance to fill in for a performer who sprained his ankle (Thanks ‘O’). I learned a great deal from watching other stage shows,in particular, the Sturdy Beggars Mud Show, and Sak Theater.”
A twenty year career performing in the Renaissance faire circuit followed, with gigs in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, the Bristol Festival in Wisconsin, and the Tuxedo Faire in New York. Mostly retired now, Clark now works only Michigan Renaissance Faire and here at the Texas Renaissance Festival. He has this to say about festival entertainment: “One of the unique aspects of Renaissance festivals is the throwback to Vaudeville and the completely unique styles of entertainment that people probably won’t find anywhere outside of the Renfaire circuit.” It’s true, and it’s one of the elements we are most proud of here at TRF- the opportunity to showcase unusual acts (where else do you see a small smart-mouthed skeleton?) and provide our audiences a chance to laugh, cry, or gasp in amazement.
A new endeavor, which premiered in 2014, are the “Shakespeare Shorts,” which are presented each night on the Globe Stage. Directed by Clark, these hysterical, irreverent takes on Shakespeare’s works keep the crowd roaring. As is the case with the Ded Bob Sho, patrons are invited onstage to take part in the story, and the Shakespearean characters are played by our own New Market Village inhabitants. Even the King plays a role!
Clark’s self-proclaimed mission is “To make people laugh and take themselves less seriously. To stretch the rules,but not break them.”
We think that’s a pretty good mission.
If you’d like to learn more about Ded Bob, or find his show schedule or merchandise, visit his website at: