minstrel: Mid-Realm Bardic Madness Challenges

Cerian Cantwr cerian at minstrel.com
Wed Oct 6 16:53:43 PDT 2010

Mid-Realm Bardic Madness XII

Greetings and welcome are bid to all Bards, Troubadors, Trouveres,
Minstrels, Minnesingers, Jongleurs, Singers, Storytellers, Poets,
Scops, Skalds, Fillids, Olaves, Griots, Wordsmiths, and Friends of
these arts. Also Musicians, Dancers, Jugglers, Magicians, and Players
as well.

This year's Bardic Madness will take place on November 13th, 2010. Our
hosts will be the Shire of Narrental (Twelve Mile, IN). Many thanks go
to all of them for their hospitality in helping the bardic community
out this year.

The purpose of today's challenges is to encourage the participants'
creativity and artistic growth.  They are not meant to be
competitions - everyone who takes part can consider themselves a

Your response to the various challenges may be in many different
forms. Song or story are the most obvious choices; however juggling,
magic, instrumental, or dance can also express an idea or tell a
tale.  All of these could be used to answer a given challenge (though
perhaps not all at the same time :-) .  Our desire here is to be
inclusive rather than exclusive.  If you have something to share that
doesn't quite fit or that stretches the definitions a little, then
fire away.

It is our wish to create a "bardic safe zone" - a friendly place
where you may feel free to experiment and try new things.  If you've
never performed before, now's your chance.  You'll be hard pressed to
find a friendlier and more supportive audience.  We would be
delighted to see lots of first time performers.

Please remember, in order to make sure as many gentles get a chance
to perform as possible, we ask that you limit your performances so
that they run less than five minutes.

For more event information, see the website at
http://tilted-windmill.com/bms12  Additional information will be
posted there as it becomes available.

For questions about the days challenges or participating in the concert
please contact the provost:
    Lucia Elena Braganza
    kcoutinho at att.net

For questions about the site and logistics, please contact the
    Loptr Orlygsson
    (Landon Montgomery)
    1500 Miles Street
    Logansport, IN 46947
    arakinas at hotmail.com

The Challenges

Fyt the First:

Pass the Tale:
All those who wish to participate get up together, and tell a tale
from beginning to end.  The challenge's patron will 'conduct' by
pointing to the person whose turn it is to continue the tale, and
deciding when it is time to end.

Fortune's Fool:
Many tales revolve around a prophecy, divination or lucky charm. Tell us 
of one such adventure.

Deja Vu:
What if "It's Been A Hard Day's Night" had been written by O'Carolan
instead of the Beatles? If John Henry was a blacksmith instead of a
steel drivin' man? Mighty Casey at Crown List? Take a modern piece, but
crank the dial on the way-back machine to make it SCA compatible. For

Now, gentles, sit! And yes shall hear a tale,
The story of a voyage marr'd by fate,
Commencing from a port of tropic clime
Aboard a vessel minuscule, the mate
A sailor full of puissance, yet not more
Than was his captain. That idyllic shore
Sent forth five passengers upon a tour
Of but three hours' time; the weather played
The strumpet with the ship, her serenade
Turned hurricano, and not small at all,
Her crew's exertions nurs'd her to the lee
Of a long-forgotten atoll. There lamed,
Brave Gilligan and his captain dwell beside
A merchant rich as Croesus and his bride,
A wanton actress, a most learned man,
And Mary Ann,
Upon the isle for which our play is named!
-- (unattributed, found at http://www.thalia.org/medieval.html)

2nd fyt:

Sibyl Says:
The sibyls were female prophets of Greek and Roman mythology. Their
prophecies, which emerged as riddles to be interpreted by priests, were
inspired by Apollo or other dieties. (mythencyclopedia.com). Tell us a
riddle, prophetic or not!

Mourning Becomes Cassandra:
Cassandra was a prophetess cursed by Apollo to always foretell true,
but never to be believed. She witnessed many tragedies and died in the
fall of Troy. Pull out the hankies and give us a good lament.

Period Piece:
Perform a documentably period piece of music, story, or song (poetry,
prose, and so forth are good too). Dig out those reference books, blow
off the dust (try not to sneeze), and see what wonderful and magical
treasures you can find in them. There is a staggering amount of
fantastic material out there. Find something, be it silly or sublime,
and amaze us with it.

3rd fyt:

Fortune Cookie:
We're leaving this one up to the fates and sugar. Grab a fortune cookie
or the Italian analog, Baci (provided by the Provost), and write two
verses and a chorus inspired by the wisdom within.

Anglo Saxon Verse:
My magic 8 ball predicts there will be a mighty event in the East,
where the lines of Beowulf will once again echo in the hall
(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BeowulfEvent). Start warming up now with
a piece in Anglo Saxon verse. The rules for constructing it are as

    1. Each line is made up of two half lines or distiches.
    2. When spoken aloud, there will be a natural pause between them.
       This is the caesura.
    3. Each half line consists of two strongly stressed syllables and an
       indefinite number of weaker ones.
    4. Stressed syllables rhyme with each other by alliteration.
    5. The first stress of the second half line will rhyme with either
       of the stresses in the first half line.
    6. The second stress of the second half line does not usually rhyme
       with either of the stresses in the first half line.

Here is an example:

Harken and hear                heed my example.
Verse form I give you         view it and learn.
Two are the stresses         told in each half-line,
Varied the unstressed         uttered as well.
The first or the second     fit with the third beat;
The fourth, at the end,     follows no rule.
When spoken aloud,         ears spot the caesura -
The silence between         both halves of the line.

Further information on the basic rules for Anglo-Saxon alliterative 
verse can be found at
For all the gory details, take a look at The Princeton Encyclopedia of
Poetry and Poetics.

Beware the Ides of March:
Ceasar might've lived longer if he'd paid attention! Give us your own
ominous foretelling.

4th fyt:

Bard Scribe Illuminator:
Given a subject in the morning, compose, calligraph, and illuminate a
text on that subject. This may be done individually or as a team.

Feast time is traditionally when we raise our glasses on high to honor
the crown and other deserving individuals. Given a topic or person at
random, create an appropriate toast for them.

Tastier than Tea Leaves:
Food is often involved in divination, from reading of tea leaves or
entrails to tossing apple peelings. But we've got much better things to
do with food - a glorious feast! Give us a piece about food or
feasting; bonus points if you can work in praise for our cooks.

Challenge General Rules

Challenges are not contests. You win by entering and striving to do
the best you can.

Challenges are designed to encourage you to try your hand at
something new, to stretch yourself, to enjoy, and to celebrate the
creative spirit.

Read the guidelines for the challenges carefully, like most
exercises, they are designed to help you develop in specific areas.
Try to follow them as closely as you can, but stretching them in
unexpected directions is good too.

Individuals are welcome and encouraged to give recognition to those
performers whom they especially enjoy.

In order to allow the largest number of people to participate,
challenge entries shall be limited to five minutes or less. Each
person may enter a maximum of one piece in each challenge and a
maximum of four challenges.

More information about the minstrel mailing list