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Grand Royale

May 09, 1999|Mary Melton

This marks the second year that Gay Linn Kirkpatrick, a 40-year-old secretary who lives in the Walnut Creek area, will reign as Queen Elizabeth at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in San Bernardino, which opened last weekend and closes June 20.

*

Q: Is Elizabeth hot this year or what?

A: Oh, my God, I just feel like I've been put on the hot seat. Between Cate Blanchett and Judith Dench, who do I think I am?

Q: How'd you get the part?

A: I'd been a highway woman, a peasant, in the court of Henry VIII, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon. I saw the queen in her chair with courtiers and said, "I want that job."

Q: Were auditions tough?

A: Oh, Lord, strenuous, 51/2 hours. It started out with 13 women. We did things like walk in circles saying the alphabet.

Q: Any advice for aspiring Elizabeths?

A: Be patient, it's going to be another 15 or 20 years before I step down. *

Q: How do you get into character?

A: I'm not a method actress. I don't have to dig deep in my psyche to find Elizabeth--phooey on that. As I start fixing my hair and doing my makeup and put on my underpinnings and am dressed by my courtiers, there's a point when Gay Linn is completely gone and Elizabeth is there.

Q: You have dressers?

A: Three to four. The underpinnings and gown weigh around 70 pounds.

Q: That collar doesn't look comfy.

A: The ruff? Well, they get a little cumbersome.

Q: Does stuff get caught in it?

A: Sometimes my earrings do. I have to say to one of my courtiers, "My lady, come unhook me!"

Q: You're in the sun all day--how do you keep the queen's pale complexion?

A: I wear sun block [SPF] 45.

Q: 'Fess up. Who was better: Judi Dench or Cate Blanchett?

A: Judi Dench was delightful; I'm going to be stealing her lines. Cate Blanchett did a good job, but some theater directions she carried out I know damn well Elizabeth wouldn't have. Elizabeth was never weepy and whiny in life.

Q: Was Blanchett's Elizabeth too loose?

A: In her relations? Yeah. She and [Lord] Leicester might have been lovers, but not as wanton as that! "Woo hoo, I'm the queen, come on, baby, let's rock 'n' roll!"

Q: Any worries about the Renaissance Faire Shakespeare hitting on you?

A: Oh, no, we have a new Shakespeare, I know him; he's handsome, with a goatee. We're going with the younger, prettier, Joseph Fiennes-type.

Q: So the movie influenced casting?

A: Yes. We wanted to show Elizabeth flanked by all these men fighting for her attention.

Q: What's the most unqueenly thing you've ever done when dressed as the queen?

A: It's virtually impossible in that gown to ever forget who I am. In heaven I don't want Queen Elizabeth looking down at me and saying, "When that Gay Linn gets up here, I'm going to kick her butt."

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