Hurrah! I postmarked my early Pentathlon entries and entry form yesterday, the last possible day to do it. Of course. For those of you who do not live in Caid, Pentathlon is our every-other-year kingdom arts competition. This will be my third time entering, and my first time to do both my individual entries and helping with a team entry.
I knew that I had until 11 am Saturday morning to get my envelope in the mail at our local Post Office, so was a little disturbed to find 18″ of snow outside my door. Oops. Luckily it was soft and powdery and the berm at the end of my driveway wasn’t frozen. So I got the envelope to the P.O. in plenty of time and I didn’t even have to dig out! I’m sure my pastor was relieved as well. During our last big snowstorm he helped the widows and single moms dig out their driveways, and he was TIRED.
Pentathlon takes place in April, but compositional entries are due Feb. 7. This year I am entering the following:
- Prose (early entry) — Excerpt from a saga, following the pattern of the Ynglinga Saga. Ynglinga is Snorri’s history of the kings of Norway, included in his longer work Heimskringla. I love how it mixes the historic with the supernatural. It starts out with the history of Odin, which should give you a clue. It then continues with the kings, with each king getting his own numbered section. The saga will tell about the king’s marriage, sons and wars — and then the king meets a bad end by following a dwarf through a standing stone. All in a day’s work. It was hard for me to get into the cadence of the simplified and straightforward prose style, but I finally got it. Most of the sections end with poetry of an entirely different style, so I did that too. Once Pentathlon is over I will post the composition.
- Persona (early entry documentation) — The actual persona entry will be a live persona presentation done before judges. I did this two Pentathlons ago as a 15th century English persona, and this time will be doing it as an early 12th century English persona. This is my favorite thing and I look forward to it. The early entry part is the documentation, which helps judges to ask questions of the persona.
- Heraldic gonfalon — I found a wonderful extant banner done in appliqued figures on velvet. I’m not particularly good at handwork but I enjoy it, and I will use the completed gonfalon outside my pavilion at wars.
- Costume review — A full court Norman bliaut. I found the most amazing fabric a year ago. It was — drumroll — FREE. And it looks like a golden embroidered samite. I’ll be doing a bliaut (may not be side-laced though), mantle, undertunic, shoes, veil, braids, etc. Basically Norman bling. I’ll be using Estrella War to do the beading SO IT HAD BETTER NOT RAIN.
- Dramatic interpretation — The Wife’s Lament, a wierd little Anglo-Saxon poem/story. No one understands it and it’s all very mysterious, but it sure is fun to perform. Given my propensity for ghost stories I claim that the Wife is speaking from beyond the grave. I’m starting and ending the piece in its original Old English. Pentathlon rules require using English that is understandable to an audience. Middle English will often fit the bill, but OE won’t. But I decided that starting and ending with a few lines in OE will frame the work while still sticking to this very reasonable rule.
- Storytelling — Along with persona work, this is my favorite type of performance. I’m doing a ghost story (told you I loved ’em) from the Eyrbyggja Saga. Just rip-roaring stuff where the good guys ride in and put some fearsome ghosts on trial. I don’t have a Norse persona but I placed my Anglo-Saxon persona just outside the Danelaw. That way she has a great excuse for knowing these wonderful stories. (Note that Pentathlon doesn’t ‘t require entrants to follow persona guidelines, but I prefer to do it when I can.)
All of these will fulfill some of my A&S 50 Persona Challenges, and I’ll mark them off once Pentathlon is completed. As with the Prose entry, I’ll post all of my documentation and pictures of the physical items.