Pennsic War  


An Interview with Clan Tynker

And now for something I'm hoping to do more of in the coming months... interviews! In March I did an interview via e-mail with Clan Tynker, which are: Elijah, Serendipity, Marygold, Rebekah, and Sam. Their first performance was at Pennsic War 29 (2000) and they've been enchanting Pennsic crowds with their day and nighttime acts ever since. Here's what they had to say:

Alexander: I've heard that performing runs in the family. Can you elaborate and maybe give a brief history of Clan Tynker?

Elijah: The five of us in our troupe are all brothers and sisters, but, we don't have a long history of performance in our family tree. Our dad was (and still is!) a hippie, and liked juggling and magic as a hobby. So, he taught us the basics of juggling, and me, the basics of magic when I was about ten years old. Much of what we have learned is from books and other performers, plus, a lot of hours of practice juggling amongst ourselves, just for fun while we were growing up. When I was 17 I got a job at a magic store in Santa Fe, NM, through which I started doing magic shows for children parties. Pretty soon the whole family was involved.

Alexander: How did you find out about Pennsic War?

Rebekah: We have been in the SCA for about 16 years, since we were kids. So, I suppose we've always known about Pennsic. Sort of like the "Mecca" of the SCA!

We were never able to go until about three years ago when Elijah got to go by himself for the first time because a merchant friend of ours needed help selling jewelry at his booth that year. Elijah had such a great time, he insisted that we all go together the next year. So, we did, and hopefully we'll be able to keep coming back every year....

Alexander: Compared to other venues, how is Pennsic different and what challenges does it bring?

Sam: In some ways it feels a little like some of the renn fairs we have performed for. Except, that every one is camped in one place for so long that the whole thing really feels like you're living in a medieval village (well.... Maybe not TOTALLY medieval!).

I suppose the biggest challenge for us is adequately lighting our performance area during our night time shows so the audience can see what's going on.

Alexander: How many hours of practice go into the act each month? Is it easy or difficult to script a new act? Who writes the material?

Elijah: It varies.... Some times we practice intensely for weeks trying to learn a new trick or routine, and other times we won't practice anything new for months. I suppose on average we each put in several full days of practice each month..... Although it really is hard to calculate this sort of thing.

We all collectively decide what goes into the act. One of us will come up with an idea, share it with every one, then every one will brainstorm together to make the idea work, funnier, or end up scrapping it because it was stupid in the first place.

We just came up with a new act we're calling "Performance Of The Apes" that we are going to be performing this year. Was it hard, or easy to write? Yes!

Alexander: Where else do you regularly perform during the year?

Serendipity: In New Mexico mostly, although we do travel to Colorado and Arizona for shows. We perform for schools, Libraries, street festivals, concerts, weddings, barmitzvas, etc.....

Alexander: What has been your most unusual setting or audience for one of your performances?

Marygold: There is not one, but several. I think the show we did in the hallway intersection of a hospital was pretty odd. Especially since we had to stop every few minutes to let the gurneys get through!

Elijah: For me it was a sort of singing telegram I had to do once at 7:00 in the morning for a room full of real estate agents, dressed in a Big-Bird costume wearing a bikini....

I have to envy them... not everyone who works at Pennsic gets to have this much fun while doing it. Be sure to look for them this year, around the merchant area and performing in campsites all over War. And... tip generously! These guys travel from far away to get to Pennsic.

Clan Tynker also wanted me to post an announcement on their availability for Pennsic War 31 (2002):

The Clan Tynker.
Now available for hire on certain days/nights at Pennsic. Parties, Feasts, Birthdays, weddings. Whatever your plans we can provide a medieval atmosphere of fun for you and your guests. We are a family of two brothers, and three sisters specializing in juggling, magic, dancing, and fire eating. All this in the style of medieval court jesters.

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Posted: 20-Mar-2002