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  • Ariane Helou
    Dec 1, 2000
      Greetings to all,
      My name is Vittoria Aureli (mka Ariane Helou) of the College of Ste
      Katherine (University of California, Berkeley). Vittoria is a 16th-century
      Florentine lady, the daughter of a wealthy merchant. I've been active in
      the SCA for about a year and a half; my interests include fencing, dancing,
      music and other bardic arts, and cooking.
      The introductory letter suggests sharing "magic moments" or "horror
      stories" - and I haven't really got either. My experience with the SCA has
      been that every time I start to get that general feeling of medievalness,
      something happens (a cell phone rings, people start up a conversation about
      computer games, or someone mentions Star Wars) that totally mars the
      atmosphere. I know that cell phones are useful, games are fun, and I am of
      course an admirer of Han Solo, but I don't feel that these things have a
      place in a society which exists for the purpose of re-creating the
      lifestyle of former centuries. Upon such occurrences, Moshe Mantega (a
      fellow Kate and, of course, moderator of this list) is wont to exclaim,
      "That's not period!" which usually gets a reaction of "don't be silly" ro
      "what does it matter?" :) Which, I suspect, is why he created this list
      :) I don't necessarily want to see things alter completely; but I think it
      would be wonderful if everyone could try to have a little more thought for
      the reasons they are in the Society to begin with. The ideal of the Dream
      is to escape totally from our modern lives and step into another
      world. Just out of curiousity...do any of you have any little tricks to
      get the people around you at events to feel a little more authentic, and
      get them to step into a medieval mode more willingly?
      I think the problem of inauthentic atmosphere lies in lack of
      persona-play. People always go by their SCA names, of course, but all are
      more likely to talk about their "mundane" personal history. Or if they are
      "in persona," it often becomes farcical, with thick accents and exaggerated
      cultural stereotyping. As a result, I have never felt comfortable going
      about as my persona, because I always slip back into talk about school, or
      Mozart, or my favorite tomato sauce, or other such glaringly modern
      topics. I am more active in creating Vittoria's past while hanging out
      with my friends, or writing emails to fellow SCAdians, than I am at events.
      Because when no one else slips into character, neither can you. A former
      Kates seneschale once told me that some people get offended when they talk
      about being in persona as "acting" - but the thing is, you have to act a
      little. Or role-play, whatever. You have to step outside yourself. And most
      people just don't seem to care for that. There is definitely a distinction
      the members of the populace pay attention to anachronisms, and those who
      don't seem to know the difference between a bardic circle and a
      beer-guzzling party, and don't care either. It is quite apparent that they
      haven't done a minute of research or a page of documentation for anything;
      they all seem to have names like Urg the Underdressed or Roblin the Rude or
      Barbaros Bonecrusher, they wear jeans under their tunics, think period
      music is boring and don't understand why potatoes are OOP. So how are the
      rest of us to possibly feel *really* Medieval? It would be truly wonderful
      if we all could make an effort towards authenticity, at every event.
      All right, this is way too long for an introduction - sorry if I've bored
      you all with my ranting, and I sincerely apologize if I've said anything
      untoward. I hope to take part in some interesting discussions on this
      list, though, and I look forward to hearing what everyone else has to say
      (especially if any of you have good advice for creating an authentic
      atmosphere at events!).

      Lady Vittoria Aureli
      Chatelaine, College of Ste Katherine
      Principality of the Mists, West Kingdom.
      Ariane Helou
      University of California, Berkeley
      Sophomore; double major in Integrative Biology and Classical Languages
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