Merlin Awarded the 2000 Philip Hafer Memorial MVP Award

Each year at the Texas Renaissance Festival, the performance company and the director select a number of cast members to receive special awards. Among the winners this year were:

Character of the Year
Rosella Gonzales, Queen Catherine of Aragon

Best Returning Character
Jason Stone and Jason Ward, The Peebodies

Best New Character
David Lopez, Captain Armando Diego Lopez Guerra Garcia Benevides Lerma de la Garza

The final award is one selected by the director only. Jeff Baldwin and I have worked together for 25 years. We have worked for each other, helped each other, and I call him a friend for many reasons. I have much respect for his work. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard my name called as the recipient of this award. The award is presented to someone whom the director feels makes special contributions to the production. I am honored and touched.

The award is signified by the tankard in the picture below.

The 2000 Philip Hafer Memorial MVP Award

A little about Philip Hafer

Philip Hafer joined the Texas Renaissance Festival in 1978, as the Lord Mayor. Philip was a skilled actor when he had a script, but he was not accustomed to working impromptu. However, as he remained with the Festival, first as a member of the Royal Court, then as various characters in the Robin Hood show, and finally as King Henry VIII, he grew as an actor and performer. He reached a point reached only by a great actor. He became King Henry.

Philip passed away in 1992, and this award was instituted by David Casey in his memory.

I knew Philip well, and was touched by his passing. Now, this award will be on permanent display in my home as a remembrance of Philip and the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Runners-up for the Philip Hafer Memorial MVP Award were:

Angela Lorio, Kiva Fyrewulf

and, as a group,

Dane Bennett, Mary Allen, Glen Martin, Martin Livingston, Andy White, James Lowe, Clayton Huff, Kyle Bryant, Joe Lanier and Melanie Lanier,The Pirates of the Pride O'Bedlam

It was a pleasure to work with all of these dedicated performers. They are more than friends, they are part of my extended family. Many of them start out as accountants, stevedores, teachers, firemen--people with what most of us consider everyday jobs, but they embrace the fantasy of the Texas Renaissance Festival and become characters in a truly wonderful play.

They come in to the festival site for eight weekends every summer, work on their characters, work out the scenarios and teach one another how to do this great thing that they do. They bake in the hot sun, walk kneedeep in the mud, and practice in the peak of the summer heat. Then, in October and November, they perform their parts, as professionally as any theatrical company anywhere in the world, for seven weekends.

I pay them the highest compliment that can be paid an actor--friends, you are troupers!

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