Friend a Day – D’Lis Schmidt
D’lis isn’t on line at all so there is a decent chance that she will never see this post. She is not interested in the tools of modern society because she is perfectly content with the tools she already possesses.
I think D’Lis is the only person who calls me “Timothy.” She calls everyone by their full names whether that is how they prefer to be addressed or not. I think she views it as a sign of respect.
My birthday falls right in the middle of the Renaissance Festival season. When I turned 25, it was on a Saturday and as usual, I expected no fanfare because I never expect my birthday to be a big deal when it is on a show day. Halfway through the day, D’Lis came up to me in character (because when she is on stage she is always in character) and “accidentally” dropped something into my lap.
It was an astrolabe necklace. I still wear it as part of my costume.
Many years later, D’Lis had been given the Lee Walker Award, which is the highest honor you can receive as an MRF performer, and I was talking with Mark Lazarchic about her later that evening. He said she had given the best advice he’d ever gotten as a performer – do something that scares you every day.
These stores about D’Lis are probably the best way to explain how much respect and admiration I have for her. She is kind and thoughtful but also one of the most devoted performers I’ve ever known. When she was on stage at the festival, she was on stage.
She was always interacting with the audience. She was always interacting with other performers as their characters. She understood what it was to be a street performer in a way that few others really did.
D’Lis also taught me a valuable lesson about standing up and demanding what you feel you are worth. She was not the sort of person to look at a contract for performance and say it was “good enough.”
She has been off the street for the last few years, working in a shop. I try to stop by and visit her there but let me tell you this: that is not where she belongs.
She belongs on the street because she brings an amazing game there.
I’m fortunate to have learned from D’Lis. She’s a great teacher.