Locals perform at the Renaissance Faire


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  • Photos by Alexis Tarrazi Lena Chilingerian of Hampton plays Queen Elizabeth.



If you go...

The Renaissance Faire
Every Saturday and Sunday and Labor Day
Aug. 2 to Sept. 21
600 Rt. 17A, Tuxedo Park, N.Y.
845-351-5174 or visit www.renfair.com

Don and Kelly Kilcoyne and Lena Chilingerian may lead regular lives during the year, but from August through September they travel back in time as they perform as Queen, Mayor and part of Robin Hood's gang at the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park.

The Mayor
Coming to the faire since opening day in 1977 as a child, Don Kilcoyne of Warwick has always loved the atmosphere and experience.

"I was coming through the gate as a guest, loving it and then one day I thought this is silly I am an 'act-or' I should actually audition," Kilcoyne said.

Kilcoyne auditioned about 24 years ago and has been performing ever since. This year he plays Mayor Bartholomew Bombardier.

"I am the greeter, I am the man that organizes things and I play host for a number of events including the chess boards," said Kilcoyne.

A jack of all trades, Kilcoyne not only acts, but learned to pour pewter and make jewelry as well as teach improvisation to the other actors.

Working at the Renaissance Faire has afforded Kilcoyne the opportunity to play make believe forever and bring him happiness.

"My father passed my first year I was here and the beauty of it was, as sick as he was during the week — I was a young man whose father was ill and I took care of him everyday and I was able to come here and recharge my emotional batteries to deal with my family by playing a character who is all about joy," Kilcoyne said. "Who is all about having fun with children and entertaining people. It recharged me so I could go home and take care of my dad during the week. It's very magical that way, you recharge with the happiness and you can face pretty much anything."

Along with happiness, Kilcoyne also found love.

"I met my bride here about 18 years ago, at our first company rehearsal together," Kilcoyne said. "I saw this beautiful girl sitting across the way and we were engaged within four months, we were married within a year and a half."

Kilcoyne's wife is Kelly and she plays the character Jenny Wren — part of Robin Hood's Merry Band.

Jenny Wren
Kelly Kilcoyne's journey with the faire began in 1996, when she went to an audition in New York City.

"I was doing local theatre at the time so I thought it was a great match," Kelly said.

She was cast in the improv company and has been performing with the faire non consecutively ever since. She also serves as an instructor at CKO Kickboxing in Warwick.

During that very first audition, Kelly met Don.

"I met him there in the end of April and we were dating by June and engaged by Labor Day," Kelly said. "So it was quick. We are going to be married now 17 years."

Along with improv, Kelly did stage combat, played Maid Marian, jousting, fighting and singing. Now she plays Jenny Wren and also serves as choreographer and director for all of the Robin Hood scenarios.

"I love playing Marian because it's so much fun to be a hero and to you know be jousting out there," Kelly said. "But I really love playing Jenny Wren there is so much freedom to it. I still get to do all of the fun sword fighting stuff but just so much freedom. My favorite thing about this is the joy it brings to the kids, absolute magic for them. And being a part of the Robin Hood gang I automatically get to work with the kids. It's wonderful."

Playing make believe with children as an adult offers great benefits.

"I swear this place keeps us all young," Kelly said. "It’s hard to be cynical in a place like this. It’s hard to get old and curmudgeonly when you can’t be cynical. Just instills that in you without you realizing it."

The Queen
Lena Chilingerian of Hampton Township is moving on up — from patron to actress to Queen.

As a child, Chilingerian traveled to the Renaissance Faire from the wee age of two. She eventually began working at one of the merchant's tents at the faire.

However, her true passion was acting. She followed her dream at Hilltop Country Day School in Sparta where she performed in all of the musicals and plays there. She then went to Pope John High School where she continued to participate in all of the plays, before graduating from Montclair State University with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and Acting.

Last year, Chilingerian, at age 24, got her break and was cast as Lady Bess Throckmorton. Her performance and dedication to never break character led her to be promoted this year to Queen Elizabeth.

"Well tis a heavy burden to bear but many excellent king and queen has held this crown before us, they proved that it is an honorable place to sit and to stand," Chilingerian said in character. "And it is of great importance. So it is not one we take lightly for we have much to live up to and many a subject to serve and look after so we are humbled by great honor we're in and optimistic about the future."

Performing as Queen, Chilingerian is constantly performing throughout the day in: The Queen's Arrival, Court Dance, Children's Knighting Ceremony, both Chess Matches, and the Royal Joust. Along with her performances, she is always bombarded by young children excited to meet and greet the Queen. Entertaining the children brings Chilingerian back to her first time at the faire.

"The favorite part truly is talking with the children," Chilingerian said. "Their faces are so alight and their eyes are still so full of wonder. It reminds us of the reason we continue to come back when we were so small. The journey we took when we were their age to get to this day. It is refreshing. It washes the soul to see their faces. And it is rejuvenating to the heart and spirit."

The Renaissance Faire runs every Saturday and Sunday and Labor Day through Sept. 21. The faire is located at 600 Rt. 17A in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. For more information call 845-351-5174 or visit www.renfair.com.

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