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Medieval merrymaking on tap at Franco Center

On November 9 and 10 at 6 p.m., the Franco-American Heritage Center will present one of Maine’s more unique and magical experiences with its fifth annual Medieval Feast.

This festive event harkens back to the medieval tradition of royalty inviting guests to watch knights compete on horseback. This feast is meant to recreate just such a gathering (only without the horses). Guests may imagine themselves in the center of a medieval courtyard, awaiting the glorious arrival of the king and queen. They will then join the royal couple, along with a host of knights, minstrels, friars and wenches, in the Great Hall for an evening of magic, entertainment, pageantry – and a meal without utensils.

At the “castle” entrance, the king will retain a wandering minstrel to welcome his guests. His knights and a fair lot of wenches will also to be found among the citizenry. His squires will usher the guests to a forested glen, where enchanting songs will be heard and all will await the arrival of the king and queen, who will lead the guests to the Hall of Feasts.

Amidst the magical décor of the hall will be wenches preparing to serve a robust meal. The menu will include carrot cream soup with parsley, a beef turnover, romaine lettuce with dipping sauce, ‘rustic’ sausage and chicken, and hermit cookies for dessert. By order of the king, all will eat their meal without utensils! Alcoholic beverages will be served at the king’s cash tavern throughout the evening.

For the entertainment of the guests, the Medieval Players have produced an original script, “The Idiots Guide to the Dark Ages,” a comedic romp about a modern man named Jack (played by Ken Mansur) and a common street idiot named Leofrick (Dan Crawford), who guides Jack on a series of misadventures through a pub, a “dark age” fashion show, and streets sprinkled with sellers of fish, rats, and haggis.

The players will include Sean Wallace, Sophie Wallace, Karen MacArthur, Katie St. Pierre, Angela Robitaille, Bruce Gerry, Ken Mansur, Dan Crawford, Garrett Crawford, Owen Kane and Neil James. The costume designers for the production are Joyce Coyne and Patti Gray.

At the end of the great “five-course meal without silverware,” during which much pageantry and merriment will ensue, guests may remain for more social conversation and drink. Those who arrive in medieval fashion (optional) may participate in a prize contest, to be judged by the King and his Queen, and will receive discounts of a few farthings on their grog.

Although this event has a ‘medieval’ rating of 16 and older, it will provide unique, discretionary family entertainment. The advance ducat (ticket) price is $35. To purchase tickets, call 689-2000 or visit www.francocenter.org. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 p.m., when squires will open the castle “gates” for all to descend into a night of whimsy and merrymaking.

 

 

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