Craig teacher finds past a perfect summer job
JANESVILLE It’s not unusual for those in the teaching profession to use the summer months to spend a bit more time on their hobbies or focus on a few non-school-related pursuits. But most don’t take the opportunity to travel back in time -- or assume a completely different name and identity. Unless, of course, they’re anything like Rick Kakouris.
Kakouris, a social studies teacher and offensive line coach for the varsity football team, has taught at Janesville’s Craig High School for 17 years. For almost as long, he’s been spending every weekend from early July through Labor Day playing the role of Capt. Sir Thomas, a 16th-century militiaman, at the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Kenosha.
A self-described history buff, Kakouris came to the fair by way of his in-laws.
“My in-laws actually owned a shop at Bristol, and I went one day just to hang out with them and be a little bit of comic relief, and I was hooked, and went down and joined the military from there,” said the Illinois native.
It’s a family affair in more ways than one. At one point in time, some three generations of Kakouris’ family were all performing in the same season.
“My wife has been doing it a year longer than I have, and my sons grew up at the fair,” he said.
Though his mother- and father-in-law retired from Bristol Renaissance Faire several years ago, his sons still take part, as does his wife, Michelle. The boys have each spent time serving as drummers in the military group Kakouris leads as Sir Thomas, and both know how to speak in 16th-century Shakespearean English.
“It’s pretty fun to listen to them,” he said. “My oldest one was probably speaking in dialect before he was speaking any other words.”
To perform in the fair as an entertainer, cast members must go through five weeks of training on everything from producing historically accurate clothing to dialect to improvisation. Much of the entertainment in attending the Bristol Renaissance Faire is derived from the fact that it’s interactive; performers are constantly talking and joking with visitors.
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At a glance
-- What: Bristol Renaissance Faire
-- When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day, now through Sept. 3
-- Where: 12550 120th Ave., Kenosha