RCTC students re-imagine the Renaissance

By Faith Boyum
Staff Writer

Rebekah Novinger, Ashley Harding and Molly Kiley are veteran performers at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. (Photo courtesy of Stacy Harding)

Three RCTC students admit that they live in a fantasy world.

Rebekah Novinger, Ashley Harding and Molly Kiley are performers at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, an event held every fall in Shakopee, Minnesota, with games, food and performances that re-create a Renaissance fair.

They are members of Minnesota SkyVault Theatre Company, which is a branch of Words Players, a youth theater troupe that performs throughout southeastern Minnesota. They act in a variety of guises such as Shakespeare, gypsy and minstrel characters in street performances at the Renaissance Festival. Though the students work with the same group, each of their experiences is different and their definitions of what the Renaissance Festival is are different. On the whole, it is a unique place with an eclectic mix of costumes and themes.

“I like to describe it as a fantasy world with a Renaissance theme,” said Kiley, who is going through the Post Secondary Enrollment Options program at RCTC.

Kiley has been active in theater since she was 11. She did not start performing at Ren Fest, as it is sometimes called, until SkyVault had already performed there for one year. When she is in costume, she is Eberhart, a gypsy/minstrel character. She enjoys performing because she said it is like playing dress up and you “play off other people’s wit.”

Rebekah Novinger has performed at the Renaissance Festival for three years. She auditioned with SkyVault for the honor of presenting at the festival, and they used original music and scenes to create a skit.

“The reaction in the room was immediate excitement,” Novinger said. “We were something different and something unexpected. I don’t know if that memory will ever fade.”

Novinger says she enjoys performing because it allows her to interact with the audience, and she is frequently on the move. Though the constant multitasking can be draining, she knows that she will continue to want to keep doing it.

Ashley Harding has been able to perform at the Renaissance Festival through her affiliation with SkyVault, though she herself did not personally audition. She likes performing there because she likes meeting and interacting with the other actors, and she gets to be a character who is unlike herself. For example, she plays Jessa, a sassy Viking warrior, and Silvia, a duke’s daughter with many suitors, from “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” a Shakespeare play.

The actors find their performance rewarding in this fun, lively environment, and the theater continues to draw them even though they may not choose it for their career.

“I hope to continue doing theater throughout my lifetime, although not professionally,” Harding said.


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