The audience is just being served its tomato bisque as the prince, intending to deliver a message, is ambushed in the darkness by adversaries of the kingdom.
He is bound, then dragged away by men on horses, leaving the audience to wonder if there will be a happy ending to the story.
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So begins another show at Medieval Times in Schaumburg.
Since 1991, Medieval Times has been entertaining guests with a show featuring jousting and sword-fighting knights on horseback as they enjoy a four-course meal in a castle-like setting.
Before showtime, chicken and ribs are prepared, knights rehearse their lines and polish their boots and armor, and occasionally on a Sunday catch some NFL football on a locker-room television.
An on-site stable houses 25 horses, 16 of which are used during a performance. The horses are rotated from show to show in order to give each one proper rest.
Most knights receive the majority of their sword-fighting and horse skills after starting at Medieval Times, including how to hold onto a horse with their legs while wearing armor and a helmet. Oh, and also holding a lance with one hand.
"The toughest part of the training is the horse riding," said head knight Robert Idrizi. "I never touched a real horse before I started (working) there. The learning never stops."