It was just about noon when I heard an unfamiliar sound as the tavern's front door loudly creaked open. The welcome bell that hung on the door slammed strongly against it and then a loud bang followed as the door shut breaking the 'welcome' sign . You don't EVER come in here and do what this guy just did. Everyone in the town of Newport has the ultimate respect for this place. History is the number one calling card and always has been since this place became The White Horse Tavern, a comfortable eatery, serving libations since 1673. We were setting up and adjusting last minute details for the unique event happening this evening and stopped what we were doing. Looking towards the door we all thought the same thing, "What the...?". How did this guy randomly just barge in, shaking the place upside down and who is this dude hiking up his trousers and fixing his belt like a kid just out of high school gym class?
"I got a message to get here for something pretty big going on." He glanced at each of us and gave us a cheesy smile like we were supposed to run to welcome him with open arms. Not today. Randomly, he began to pick up props that were purposely set in place and move them around and knocked a chair over scraping it against the wall. The pirate hat that was designed for the character I was to play, lay on the counter, where he picked it up, twirled it around, then smugly put it on his head and posed.
I put my hand up to the others to address this idiot as they began to stride over to him with purpose to have a face off. "I got this." I told him he was not welcome and to leave as my co-workers stopped, hands to hips, faces with serious intent and waited for results. No sense letting a bad vibe fill the air. The moment to be in character for the event was near to happen and each of us had stepped up to work our reenactment charm as top actors for THE PAST VIEW production company. This was theater up front and personal. The scenes where we would be featured, were one of many moments in the chapters highlighting the unique history of the town of Newport, Rhode Island. This major event was to be a shining spotlight commemorating life in the 1600's.
I was chosen to play the lead role of William Mayes, who was the true innkeeper that was granted a license to sell a plethora of strong drink in 1702. He was a well known pirate with approval papers and openly welcomed by the townspeople of Newport but not the British Colony officials. He returned from successful shenanigans over in the Red Sea as a successful privateer. The town would be celebrating a historical landmark year and they chose to make it a flash back in time. Older homes surrounding the tavern were "borrowed" as it was to be a weekend of everyone joining and mingling with the cast of characters. Each would stay in character for everyone to witness this moment in time and how each day played out. There were surprise action scenes planned and that was to be fun to reenact.
But now we have a problem. This guy who showed up was not one of the cast members. No one knew who he was and what he wanted, so I took it upon myself to solve this before taking it to the production company staff. This scrawny dude had better be in the wrong place or we would see to it he got his butt kicked into the next town.
"Hey, dude." I said out of character for the moment and approached him with candor to settle this once and for all. "You need to leave. Now." I reminded him again how he was not welcome here as we were in the middle of preparing for a very important weekend of history reimagined. "The overseers and production security will be notified if we do not have your cooperation." Without hesitation, the guy immediately went over and poured himself a shot of bourbon and swigged it down before any of us could stop him.
"Ha ha! Gotcha!" Then he quickly ran out the door and disappeared before we even knew what the heck was going on. I was able to grab the door before it banged shut again and swore a blue streak.
"What just happened?" All of us were not okay with this random dumb idiot showing up. "We will need to get ahold of the overseers. I suspect a whipping will be forthcoming." The others agreed. But there was no rhyme or reason to his purpose on site, so we opted to just move on, finish up and call it a day for now. Tonight will be here soon enough and the first part of the social reenactment will be an open bar featuring strong libations of years past and the 1600's baroque music for the local community. The banquet celebrating the White Horse Tavern's and their classic comestibles would happen the following evening after a day of ships in the harbor competing for the winning flag.
The sun was beginning to set, the torches were lit, and the musicians strode through the town encouraging one and all to follow them back to partake in fitting food and beverages of the era. We began to banter with each other and the local town folks to work our reenactment flair. It was grand! Then out of nowhere a shreek was heard. A figure came towards us yelling and throwing a fit punching the air with knives he carried in both hands. He looked like a jester as his dress suited the times. Holy crap! It was the guy who busted into the tavern earlier today! What was he doing?
"I am who you think you know who I am, but not really." He laughed at his version of a joke. People stopped and paused not knowing what was going on. We knew something was not right but decided to confront him, completely in character, of course, and play the hand that was dealt since that was the reason we were here.
"Sir William," the jester began, as he knew whom he was speaking to, and quickly put the knives in their sleeves. He put his hands up and stopped the men from accosting him. "I am the worst nightmare of your evening. They told me to add chaos and here I am!" The jester grabbed several lit torches and ran into the town. Before anyone could fathom what was going on, fire rose from behind a building and lit up the sky. It was a planned moment as fireworks went off and sirens were heard. Over a loud speaker a voice congratulated the event and thanked THE PAST VIEW production company for a job well done. His final words were "I'd like to thank Sir William Mayes and his fine crew of merry men. A good time was had by all!" I looked around and knew we were had by not realizing this guy was part of it from the get go. And the only thing we could do is be in the moment, so we laughed at ourselves as the bunch of fools we were made into for the event. We strode onward to the tavern and toasted ourselves with a mighty fine cup of cheer!