Sunday, May 16, 2010


Even though our performance run of 12th Night ended with a wildly successful final show last night, the cast still had one more hurdle to jump as we headed out to NJ today for the First Annual Steampunk World's Fair. Our show held a very strong steampunk design element, and we were invited to perform some scenes from our play, showing off the costumes and generally providing awareness for Curio Theatre. The cast was planning to head out from Philly around 2pm in time to get to the fair for our 4:30 show, but I was really interested to get out there earlier in order to have time to wander the fair and soak up this steampunk world that we were allowed to play in for the last month. So I got all suited up as the Duke, headed out to the Radisson off I-287, and plunged head-first into a crowd where my gentleman's coat was not out of place at all. (First photo: The steampunk band, playing for the crowd.)

It was a fantastic experience. I hadn't really know this world existed two months ago, even if even would have know what "steampunk" even meant. But this courtyard of the hotel was filled with men, women, children, even families all dressed up in Victorian-Scientific outfits, visiting the vendors and watching the displays. I started getting lots of compliments on the outfit, and I was handing out postcards for both 12th Night and for my own projects with RHP. I posed for more than a few pictures, and I was also lucky enough to get one with another theatre artists named Jen. (See second picture.) I was really grooving on the whole atmosphere of the convention, and everyone was wonderfully friendly and excited about their hobby. Two women sitting behind a vendor table spoke to me in British accents, trying to sell me on their special elixirs and tonics, all while explaining the new refrigeration system they had to keep the bottles cold. Another vendor had really cool-looking leather covers for spiral notebooks; the covers were adorned with gears and such that made them look amazing.

But then it was time for our performance. With most of the cast caught in traffic (i.e.lost), I had to speak to our stage manager Annie regarding any technical needs we had. I worked out dressing rooms, mics, lights, etc, with her, trying (and managing) to have everything arranged by the time the rest of the cast arrived, in what was sure to be a last-minute frenzy. Sure enough, that frenzy arrived and we powered through an hour's worth of scenes of the show, much to the delight of the assembled crowd. We had a small moment of cast unity, and then they all got back in the minivan to head back to Philly.

After they had taken off, I went back to the convention and I met Vesper and Lora (third picture.)
It was from them that I really started learning about the roleplaying/character creation in the world of steampunk. Vesper, on the left, showed me her high-altitude breath mask and the various guns and swords she carried for her role as an air pirate. Lora just bough that grey coat at this convention, and she's in the process of creating a character who is a watchmaker, as you can see two watches on her left lapel. Vesper is also holding a big gun on her shoulder, which is a custom converted NERF gun. Pretty clever... I actually remarked that the only thing my Orsino outfit was missing was a ray gun of some kind, and she actually gave me an extra one that she had no use for. So for a few hours, Orsino was packing a gun in his boot, and I even got pretty good at the quickdraw. (The coat is used to distract the enemy before blasting the hell out of them.)

This steampunk world was so interesting and so welcoming, that I wonder if I won't go back, even independent of 12th Night. In the long-awaited feature film version of our short film "The Chrononauts," we have been interested in a steampunk backdrop for the world of the story. It's an exciting and dynamic world, and after my adventures today at the World's Fair, it's a world that I want to return to.


Lora said...

It's Lora!!

Nick said...

Lora, it's all been changed to be "Lora" in the article. But mostly, I'm so glad you found the blog!

JParis said...

Cool stuff. I'm sure you had a blast there.

Nick said...

Man, it was awesome! Rob and I have always talked about the feature version of "Chrononauts" having a steampunk element to it. After this convention, I love the design. I want to return to that convention next year with the film as our newest triumph.