Heading back in time at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire

Heading back in time at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire


NORTH HAVEN — After getting a recommendation from a director, Nicole Morin decided to try out for a part in the Connecticut Renaissance Faire.

The Berlin resident spends the week performing in regional theater and on the weekends transforms into Lady Lettice Knollys.

“She is the Maid of Honor to her majesty,” Morin said Monday.

Though Knollys and Queen Elizabeth claim to be friends, they are more or less “frenemies,” Morin explained.

“Of course I want to be better than her, and I think I am. You know prettier, wittier, smarter,” Morin said. “She’s got the crown, I have everything else.”

Morin researched Knollys in preparation for her character.

“Lettice was a real person, she existed so you want to learn about her. What she did, who she was, how she carried herself,” Morin said. “She had three husbands and one of them was Queen Elizabeth’s great love, Robert Dudley.”

Morin also wrote a song for the show.

“I had zero preconceived notions of what this was going to be, whatsoever,” she said of the fair. “It has exceeded my expectations. It’s just been a really great experience.”

Along with getting to meet different characters like Knollys, fairgoers can try archery, spear throwing, or fighting with a knight, and they can help Lady Mandrake solve a mystery.

“Her husband was fairly high up but passed and she solved his mystery of what happened to him,” Jenna Bullock-Papcin said of her character, Lady Mandrake. “Somebody had done him in and by doing so she became well known to the queen. The queen is very fond of her. Every year she solves puzzles and mysteries for the queen.”

Instead of solving the mysteries on her own, Bullock-Papcin gets help from fairgoers.

The Mystic resident creates a new mystery each week. Then, with the help of the other town folk and vendors, she hands out clues throughout the fair.

Those who want to play need to look for people who have the same symbol that Lady Mandrake dons.

“It involves talking to other folks, vendors, people with (Lady Mandrake’s colors), they piece it together after collecting clues from each of us and then figure out who did it,” she said.

Bullock-Papcin has been part of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire for the past seven years.

“It’s amazing getting to know all my fellow fair people. It’s like a big family, a big strange family. It’s wonderful,” she said. “Every day being able to meet new people and talk to new people and tell them about all the wonderful things at the fair.”

The Connecticut Renaissance Faire is open every Saturday and Sunday in October at the North Haven Fair Grounds on Route 5.

Twitter: @PetePaguaga

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