What is Bedlam? - by Midair MacCormaic and Bedlam

Although the Bedlam, as a group, are more than four years old,
it is only recently that others have started taking notice of us. Oh,
sure, years ago we were thrown out of bars in the middle of
performances, but as of a year ago not only have others *liked* our
performances, they have actually been inviting us back!

There has been recently, however, a question as to who or what Bedlam
is. We started out as purely a theatrical performing troupe, but we
have grown from those humble beginning. As Bedlam now including a
singing group and a dancing group (not to mention a couple of highly
rated jugglers), we had to come up with a new idea of what Bedlam
meant to us. After practices we have had many discussions.

In one line, Bedlam can be defined best as:

The members of Bedlam are are a group of people dedicated to
promoting the Performing Arts in the Shire of Cynnabar.

That's it. Nothing more. When someone says, "I'm a member of
Bedlam" then they are, in effect, saying "I like to sing, dance,
and/or act, and I want to see myself and others perform our skills in

Of course, I suppose no statement is ever totally clear. So here is a
listing of possible questions about Bedlam that people might have, and
answers we have come up with:

Q: I have heard that Bedlam is divided into three separate groups?
Is this true?

A: Bedlam is composed three groups of: the theater group (The Bedlam
Players), the madrigal group (name to be determined), and the dance
group (we don't need no stinkin' name). The jugglers consider
themselves a part of the theater group, but if enough of them get
together, they might become their own distinct entity.


Q: Which group is in charge of Bedlam?

A: No group is, actually. Many Bedlamites are a part of more than
one group at a time, or change groups as their tastes change.


Q: Who is in charge of Bedlam?

A: No one. Wait, no, everyone! Um, no, that isn't right. The fact
is that there is no one "in charge." Like the rest of Cynnabar, the
members mainly run things by consensus.


Q: No, really, someone must decide, at least in the groups, who does

A: Wow, you are really hung up on power, aren't you? :) Seriously,
no one is in charge because, to be honest, it doesn't mean anything.
Yes, the sub groups do have people who are in charge, but they aren't
dictators. To illustrate:

The Players: Currently Alina [is this true?] is in charge. That
means she is the contact person and goes out of her way to make sure
there is a practice room. Does she decide what pieces get performed?
Nope. In fact, at one point the players were doing nothing but Mime
Ballads. Then Angelle [sca name?] came along and thought it would be
great to start doing Comedia Del Arte, and there was enough interest
of the players that they are now practicing that.

The Singers: Telari [sp?] is in charge, mainly because she arranges
the practice schedule and is the one who pushes the singers the
most. She also provides the music, but, as she has said many times:
"If anyone wants to bring other pieces for us to sing, I would be very
grateful if they would do so!" [better quote here?]

The Dancers: Kevin and Telari are in charge, again because they are
the ones who enjoy teaching dance. Others can and are encouraged to
teach dance.


Q: When was the Crossbow invented?

A: In France around 1050 the first mechanized hand weapon was created.
A two-handed crank was installed on a bow (which for this purpose was
made out of steel) and a short bold was shot out that had a range of
1,000 feet and could penetrate chain mail. This weapon was so
terrifying and horrifying that a Church council of 1139 tried to ban
its use except against non-Christians, but of course this didn't work.
The main disadvantage of the crossbow is its slow firing rate.
Because once the bolt was fired and enemy could easily swoop down and
attack before the crossbow was cocked again, the expression "to have
shot their bolt" came into being.


Q: What does it mean to be a member of Bedlam?

A: This is a tough question. Since this article can't answer for
people who don't consider themselves members, it will give an answer
for those who do.
A Bedlam member is someone who has performed with others who
consider themselves Bedlam members.


Q: What benefits does a member of Bedlam get?

A: Er..not much! We have been recognized by Crown as a good
performance group, but that is about it for public gains. Privately,
it is a great way to meet people who have similar likes in
performance. Each of the groups, however, get a great benefit from
the other groups being around. For example, if extras are needed by
the Players, they can ask the Dancers or the Singers. If the Dancers
need more people, they can go to the other groups. If the Singers
find a piece that can be acted out or danced to as they sing along,
then they can contact the other groups.


Q: Do you have to be a member of Bedlam to perform in Cynnabar?

A: Of course not. As one example, Dag and Elayna have performed at
demos (singing), and that had nothing to do with Bedlam. Bedlam will
never discourage others from performing.

If a group wanted to start their own performance troupe, that is
fantastic. However, there is already a group of people who love
performing - they are an easily tapable resource. If there is
something specific you'd like to have a hand in performing, come to
Bedlam, and see if others would like to do it to!


Q: When did the number Zero first get introduced?

A: This first occurred about the year 500, when some Indian
mathematician suggested that an untouched abacus level be given its
own special symbol. The Arabs probably picked it up from the Hindus
around the year 700. This first important mathematician to use the
zero as positional notation was an Arab, Muhammad ibn Al-Khwarizmi,
who featured it in a book written in 810. It would still be several
centuries before these new Arabic numerals would replace the clumsy
Roman numerals.

Q: When does one get asked to join Bedlam?

A: Never! No one gets asked to join. It is kinda like Cynnabar's
Council...if you show up, you are in. The basic default right now, if
you wish, is that if you perform with Bedlam then you can consider
yourself a member of Bedlam. If you say you are a Bedlam player, then
all you are saying is that you have performed with us.


Q: I've performed with Bedlam, but I don't want to be a member.

A: Okay, your not. I hope you still perform with us later.


Q: Is Bedlam a household?

A: Although it is considered more a guild than a household in
structure by the SCA, the members like to think of themselves as in a
performing household. The main reason for becoming one is so we can
register a device.


Q: Aha! So, if you are a household and want to register a device,
then you must have a leader who is the head of your household!!!

A: The only reason to have a head is to register the device, and that
is it. We'll choose someone who will register the device from a group
of people who will be around for a while, with the condition that if
that person moves they pass the device onto so someone else for
upkeep. The household 'head' has no other function except to maintain
the device, and won't be called the head of the household for any


Q: What is Bedlam's Device?

A: [can someone blazon it?]


Q: What is the Bedlam phone list?

A: Why yes, there is, maintained through the kind graces of Magdalina.
On this list are members and friends of Bedlam. Contact Magdalinea if
you wish to be added or removed from the list.


Q: What is a friend of Bedlam?

A: A friend of Bedlam are those people who don't want to be members
but want to be informed of various practices and get-togethers that
many of the members have. These events include practices, demos, and
dinners at various restaurants.


Q: I hear you exclude people, is this true?

A: No, it is not true.


Q: I hear you want to take over Cynnabar.

A: How? And do *what* with it?


Q: What is the Bedlam Fighting Contingent?

A: Actually, there is no fighting contingent. This just refers to a
group of Bedlamites who are branching out into other SCA activities,
in this case, fighting. The people who are making armor and learning
to fight who are in Bedlam would actually rather be in a Cynnabar
fighting contingent (just as those Bedlamites who shoot archery like
to think of themselves as Cynnabar archers). In this light, you could
call Bedlam the Cynnabar Performers.


Q: Are there Performing Arts that Bedlam doesn't cover?

A: Good question! The only one I can think of are musicians, that
is, people who play musical instruments other than voice. Telari has
offered to organize (but not rehearse) people who want to practice.
If a group got together, they would be more than welcome in Bedlam.


I hope this article has answered the many possible questions about
Bedlam. If you have anymore, do not hesitate to ask one of the many
Bedlamites. We encourage anyone who is interested in the performing
arts to come to one of our rehearsals. We hope everyone has fun


Last Updated: 28 June 98
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