Andrew Marks of Boyertown has become one of the newest members of the improv actor troop now performing at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim.After roles in high school theater productions at the Boyertown Area High School and local theater, Marks has set his sights on the art of improvisation pushing his acting skills to a new level.
He has appeared in the musical stage show "Guys and Dolls" in 2007 and as Leon, Stella Taybors little boy in "Unclaimed Carriages" in 2008.
Entering his freshmen year of college at Alvernia College in Reading, Marks fell into his new role due to a friend's suggestion.
"I have a good friend that is a library assistant who knew I loved the time of knights," explained Marks. "I was surprised and in the same breath I thought that's going to be an expensive hobby because of the gas needed for the commute."
Marks now plays Sir Bernard P. Campbell, nicknamed the "face" because he defends the Queen. He said, "But the ladies call me 'Bernie.'"
He started practicing twice a week back in March to prepare for the faire, which opened a few weeks ago.
The actors studied intensive history lessons on the Renaissance period while working with a historian for two months.
"I knew a lot ahead of time because I read a lot of Shakespeare. So some of it was review but some information still surprised us," said Marks. "I've also learned not to be surprised at what happens in master improv."
The outdoor fair can be grueling with the summer heat and the actors do something Marks calls, "climate control, by wearing like seven layers and just keep drinking water."
With only thirty minutes or less of a break throughout the long days every weekend, this role has become an expensive hobby due to the commute.
As a full-time student studying Political Science and Economics with a minor in Theater, Marks 17 credit load this semester will be a challenge.
"I enjoy it (the fair) because of the reaction of little kids like 12. It's fun to make someone else's dreams come true," explained Marks."I love seeing people enjoying themselves, and I'm having fun with it."
Marks' improv skills were tested when the first weekend he had a wardrobe malfunction. "I've had to deal with it. The boots (which costs $150) broke in the first hour."
He finds motivation and inspiration from Actress Sheila Barton. "She has her hands in everything. She keeps us laughing throughout it no matter what," said Marks.
Marks is enjoying the fantastical world the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire brings and said, "I'm already looking forward to next year."