Sophia’s Elevation to Laurel At Pennsic 50

Scroll down to the bottom for Non-Elevation Fun: Ball, Commedia, Improv, and Misrule!

Elevation Summary: 

  1. Vigil/Party:

    “Middle Sunday” August 6 starting at 4:00pm with worthies speeches and Their Majesties of Atlantia putting me on vigil. Located at Casa Firenzi Camp on block N40, next to Kingdom of Avacal camp which is next to Kingdom of Atlantia Camp.

    1. Facebook event:
  2. Elevation in Atlantia Royal Court:

    “War Week Wednesday” August 9, starting at 6:00pm, my elevation is the first item of business. Friends who wish to participate in the procession can sign up for their role here:

    1. Musicians who wish to play Petite Riens for my procession and/or wish to join in the dance band for the Grand Ball later Wednesday night can sign up to get organized by THLady Jolicia here:  Google sign-up sheet for musicians:

location of Casa Firenzi at Pennsic

Elevation Details:

Please come join me in celebrating my elevation to the SCA Order of the Laurel at Pennsic 50!


For my non-SCA friends, this is the mastery level award for Arts and Sciences in the SCA. My husband was elevated in February 2021 for his expertise in roses. My sister was elevated in September 2018 for her expertise in music and scribal arts. Mountains of my friends have been elevated for their amazing accomplishments over the past 31 years of my SCA life. Now, I am elevated for my expertise in Italian 16th century Commedia dell’ Arte!


Two ceremonies will happen at this year’s Pennsic War: 1) Vigil and 2) Elevation at Court.


1) The Vigil is where the King and Queen of Atlantia will hear short speeches from other existing Laurels and representatives from the other Peerage Orders of the SCA: Pelicans, Masters of Defense (fencing), Royal Peers (former royalty), Knights, and representatives of the rest of the populace.


After the King and Queen hear the speeches from the Peers vouching for me and recommending me to them as a reliable person they can feel confident in elevating to the Order of the Laurel, I will go through a water cleansing ritual.


Inspired by the knights’ ritual bath before elevation, I have created my own water ceremony. I will sit in a small pool and invite some of my friends (pre-determined) to pour water over my head and speak blessings. I believe that when one releases old stressors, as this ceremony is intended to do, one must fill the space made in one’s heart with positive energy. This is the role of my friends speaking blessings to me as they help me wash away old stress. I have a great deal of old stress built up over the past 31 years of SCA life, so I made this ritual a little bigger than the traditional Atlantian Laurel hand washing.


Then I will dry off, present myself to the King and Queen, and they will officially place me on Vigil. I will sit in a special tent and chat with visitors for the rest of the night. The intent is for these visitors to share with me the wisdom they have found in their SCA lives, particularly focused on the significant leap in the social and leadership structure when one becomes a Peer for the first time. Some people may describe this as “giving advice.” I prefer to ask my friends and supporters to share wisdom they have discovered.


The vigil party will have me sitting in a tent all night having quality time with visitors, and the rest of my camp will party with the following:

  • Ancient and Venerable Traditional Aethelmearc Peerage Cookie Table
    • Please bring cookies to share! (make note of ingredients please!)
  • Ongoing music/Bardic Circle with some special guest stars (who are bringing CDs you can buy at my vigil! Support our independent musicians!)
    • Vince Conaway
    • Heather Dale (yet to be confirmed)
    • Whisky Bards
    • Surreptitious Whisky
  • Peeps Sacrifice led by the High Peepstress Lucia


Casa Firenzi will provide simple beverages, water and lemonade, and a few brewed beverages, but visitors are encouraged to BYOB and BYO Chair!!


Some people believe that Peerage Vigils are only for other Peers – NOT THIS ONE!  This is a vigil party open to any friends and supporters of Sophia the Orange.


2) Elevation ceremony in Atlantia Royal Court: Wednesday August 9 starting at 6:00pm – My elevation is the first order of business.


My friends Harold and Fritz will present a short introduction in Commedia dell’ Arte style, then I will process into court with some friends playing music, Petite Rien, dancing, carrying banners, and portraying some of the many characters I’ve worked with in my 23 years of commedia life.


Audience members are encouraged to accept the kazoos and ribbons offered as gifts for making their participation in court more fun and colorful.


Their majesties will describe shortly what it means to be a Peer of the SCA, call the Order of the Laurel into court, and I will speak an oath. They will place on me three pieces of regalia made for me by beloved friends:

  1. Legacy Laurel medallion from my first household in the Midrealm, Family Von Metten De Grinstead.
  2. Laurel cloak in the style of Atlantia University academic robes by Mistress Genef Wolfline
  3. Laurel wreath incorporated in a Baronial Coronet by Baron Robert de Tyre


Then we all walk to the back of court and try to be quiet so the rest of court can go on honoring other volunteers.


Non-Elevation Fun: Ball, Commedia, Improv, and Misrule!

That evening, Wednesday, August 9, starting at 9:00pm, my friend The Honorable Lady Avelina del Dolce and I will host the Pennsic Grand Masked Ball!  Join us at the dance tent for a dance party in character! A thin Commedia del’ Arte scenario will be played out throughout the evening by anyone who wants to come play. Pantalone is rumored to have selected a suitor for his daughter Isabella and we suspect he will announce the lucky groom at the ball!  Come dance with Isabella, negotiate with Pantalone, and play with the rest of the commedia characters that show up! No need to sign up. Just come in costume of whatever commedia character you wish to portray and enjoy the ball being in character! Facebook event:


Then the next night, Thursday, August 10, in the Performing Arts Tent, starting at 9:00pm, the Commedia All Stars troupe will perform a new scenario called “Scallion Stew” very much inspired by the satire blog “The SCAllion” (An Onion style blog poking fun at the SCA).  This is where you get to see what a Commedia Laurel can do! Laughs are guaranteed, and current events will be made fun of! (Basis of the plot is the drama experienced by my friend Master Wistric when he was sanctioned by the SCABOD – see the article from the SCAllion here:  ) (PS: Wistric is being HONORED in our play by being the HERO to save us all at the end!)  Facebook event:


Please do not hesitate to ask questions or come join the fun! Email me if you need any help – orangesophie AT gmail.


Other Pennsic Performances I’m running:

Whose Cause Is It Anyway?  An improv comedy show supporting Ukraine!  Friday August 4 at 6:00pm at the Performing Arts Tent. Facebook event


Court of Misrule!  The folks at the Pleasure Pavilions (formerly known as “Vlad’s”) in block E20

have challenged the kingdoms of the known world to prove they are NOT BORING!  The King and Queen of Atlantia have selected me and my commedia friends as the CHAMPIONS OF NOT BORING ATLANTIA!!!!  We shall compete against other Fools representing other kingdoms on Saturday night of middle weekend, August 5, at the Pleasure Pavilions E20

for the right to prove our kingdom is NOT BORING!  Doors open at 8:30pm and show starts at 9:30pm.


Intro to Commedia class!  Cuz I can’t not teach. 😉   Thursday August 3 at 12:00 – 1:00pm.  Followed by Iron Commedia workshop run by The Honorable Lady Avelina del Dolce with a show at 5:00pm!

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Commedia All Stars troupe at Pennsic

What is the Commedia All Stars troupe?

At Pennsic 43 (2014), I created the first production of the Commedia All Stars troupe at Pennsic. It was a significant experiment. My goal was to gather anyone who wanted to play commedia at Pennsic and produce a Commedia dell’ Arte play entirely *at* Pennsic.  No rehearsal ahead of time. The goal was to see if we could do it.

I did get a lot of help.

We gathered 18 players from 4 different kingdoms and 7 different commedia troupes!

It took a lot of work.

The folks that created that first All Stars production were all gambling that it would be successful. We had no guarantee we’d be able to have fun as well as produce a high-quality commedia dell’ arte play. And it had to be funny. It’s no fun if the audience isn’t laughing.

We did succeed! You can see the result on this You Tube video:  Watch until the end to see the long list of credits!

That first scenario was titled “The Power of Negative Thinking” written by Lady Luceta di Cosimo of I Genisii.  Luceta went on to write all the following All Stars scenarios:

  1. Pennsic 43 – 2014 – The Power of Negative Thinking
  2. Pennsic 44 – 2015 – The Long Lost Treasure
  3. Pennsic 45 – 2016 – Arlecchino of La Mancha
  4. Pennsic 46 – 2017 – The Philosopher’s Brick

All the videos can be seen on this page:

As we have developed the All Stars program over the past 4 years, we have grown. All the participants in the All Stars troupe are also contributing to spreading commedia by teaching, running more commedia at home, or publishing written works on commedia.  This group exists for more than just doing commedia for fun. We support the expansion of commedia by modeling excellence in commedia and helping others learn commedia too.

The name “All Stars” began as 100% marketing. I was making a significant gamble that first year trying to create a Pennsic-only commedia troupe, so I used every tool in my toolbox, including branding.  Of all the possible names, “All Stars” was the most catchy and attention getting.  Other possible names considered include the following:

  • Known World Commedia Players
  • i Sophini
  • i Arancioni
  • i Rosi Lioni (This would have been a continuation of a series of Pennsic-only commedia plays I did within my household, Red Winged Lion, for a few years.)

The name “All Stars” has taken on additional meaning over the years. This troupe is not populated by the most talented, ranked, vetted, or perfected Commedia players in the world. This troupe is populated by the most teamwork-oriented players that can be gathered at Pennsic. Each one of the players in All Stars is a uniquely contributing member who also supports their fellow commedia players. They also take on the extra task of supporting commedia by teaching, running, or writing about commedia. They do more than just let the Capocomico take them on a ride of fun. They all pitch in, give back, and support each other. Each one of the All Stars players is a star in their own right but part of a team.  There are no divas that float above the rest. Every single person’s contribution is part of a magnificent collaboration. That’s what makes this group All Stars.

This year, 2018, I am stretching again and using online auditions to get a head start on seeing the players in action. We’re also going to have some online rehearsals using Zoom conference calls. This year’s scenario writing is underway with the magnificent Honorable Lady Luceta di Cosimo, and auditions will begin soon.

This year, rehearsals are moving from the Pennsic Amphitheater to the Atlantia Royal Encampment. The Pennsic Performing Arts program has grown so much that the huge chunk of time that All Stars needs for rehearsal just wasn’t practical to keep in the Amphitheater. So, the current Majesties of my beloved Atlantia, Detrich and Una, granted us permission to set up a rehearsal tent in Atlantia Royal camp for Commedia All Stars.  Thanks again to their most magnanimous Majesties of Atlantia! Vivant!  (Thanks also to Detrich’s squire Carrick for working out the logistics with me!)

This year, rehearsals will be carefully scheduled in order to allow players to also participate in the fencing activities during the day. (There is a mysterious connection between commedia and SCA rapier fighting that has yet to be understood.)  We have a 3 hour block for rehearsals between 9:00am – 12:00noon. Each player will be expected to be there during 2 of those hours depending on their role. Some will be there from 9:00 – 11:00 and some will be there from 10:00 – 12:00.  This is intended to reduce the amount of time each player is sitting around waiting for their turn to rehearse as well as allow more flexibility for players to participate in other Pennsic activities. The exact schedule will be determined after auditions and casting. Rehearsals are still a total of 6 Pennsic days: Middle Saturday through and including War Thursday. The show is War Thursday night, 9:30pm, at the Performing Arts Tent.

If you’re interested in auditioning for the Commedia All Stars troupe 2018, please email me via orangesophie AT gmail DOT com and let me know what kind of role you’d like to play. I’ll also ask you how you’d like to contribute back to the commedia community: teaching, directing, or publishing. I will be asking you to fill out this form to kick off the process:

This project could not be as much fun and as successful as it has been without the significant support of two amazing people: Luceta di Cosimo and Manus MacDhai.  Luceta not only writes all our scenarios but she also has helped me research period commedia deeply and repeatedly. She’s incredible at helping me understand the sources we have to figure out what commedia was like in the 16th century.  Manus is my beloved husband who has neglected his rose garden way too often to come play commedia with me. He is the Logistics & Technical Manager for our marriage and our commedia troupes. I couldn’t make commedia happen without him. So, I publicly thank Luceta and Manus for their unique and critical contributions to the All Stars troupe!

Additional loving thanks go to members of the i Sebastiani troupe who have served as coaches for All Stars over the years: Master Anton of Winteroak, Mistress Rhonwen ap Glonwy, Master Frtiz, and Lord Harold Longfellow. Super huge thanks also to Duke Steffan Glaube of Lochac for priceless directing assistance!  We have also benefited from classes taught by Lady Katrusha and Lord Tristan, so thanks to them too!

A final thank you to the audiences that come to the All Stars shows at Pennsic! Without an audience, it would just be another rehearsal!

With mountains of gratitude,

Baroness Sophia the Orange

Founder and Capocomico of the All Stars Commedia Troupe