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Re: Court is Good(tm) (Was: RE: I'm so proud.)

Poster: Tom Rettie <tom@his.com>

Unto the gracious readers of the Merry Rose does Findlaech mac Alasdair send

It was recently written:

> I notice that a lot of people avoid Court.  <snip>
> 3.  If it is boring, let us know what we can do to make it more
>      exciting.  I'm open to suggestions (except car
>      chases and big explosions).

Having sat through more than two (and less than a hundred) courts, I humbly
offer a few suggestions for those who sit (and stand) before the populace.
While Atlantian monarchs, peers, and officers would never be so base as to
exhibit any of the undesireable traits mentioned below (and always display
the desireable ones), I offer a few thoughts to those who might find
themselves on a throne:

1.  Act Noble/Regal/Royal.  By far, it is the "stage presence" of the crowns
and coronets that make court appealing.  Monarchs who present the image and
actions of a medieval ruler are always fun to watch; those who just look and
sound like some schlub in a tunic put everyone to sleep.

2.  Step Lively.  Like any entertainment (and court _should_ be
entertaining), pacing is key.  There should be no shuffling of papers and
side-conversations between awards and activities; that's where folks'
attention wanders.  I've always suspected that the really impressive courts
I've seen were (to some degree) rehersed.  And in my humble opinion, no
court should EVER exceed 60 minutes.  

3.  Starve Not the Populace.  If court must immediately precede the feast,
make sure there is bread and cheese or somesuch for the rabble to knosh.
Watching the appointed feast hour come and go while court drags on and on
(and blood sugars plunge and the cooks fume) will kill the good will of the
audience.  It also gives everyone something to do if the pacing stumbles.

4.  Bring Thy Wits.  Coming to court drunk/stoned/half asleep/etc., aside
from being rude, is rarely entertaining for those who watch.  It also
usually kills #1 and #2 above.

5.  Speak to be Heard (this applies to everybody).  Related to #1, address
_all_ those assembled as if their presence and understanding is important.
The whole point of court is that the crowns and coronets have important
matters to share with the populace.  I find few things in court more
annoying than to hear someone called before the thrones, followed by 5
minutes of mumbled conversation.  If I can't hear what's going on, I might
as well go play backgammon with my lady.  

To judge a successful court, I offer the Newbie Test.  Would someone just
attending their first event find this interesting and entertaining?  Is it
evident what is going on?  Are all the jokes "inside"?  Many years ago, my
father and his wife came to an event to see what went on.  Afterward, my
father commented to me that "your king sure knows how to be king."  They
didn't get everything that went on, but they were sufficiently entertained
that what they missed didn't really matter.  That was a successful court.  

Your servant,


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