Bojour Mis Amies,
Last weekend it was a very successful Hocktide Emprise event. Horses, archery, tournaments, war melee practice, bards and a great setting amid tall trees overlooking all the activities in a 30 acre meadow, and a crow's nest to boot!
Since I had no idea how the Persona Challenge would go, I just let it sort of flow. It actually started on the way there. When I told my traveling companion, Mademoiselle Sibila, what I was going to do, she said, "Let's practice." Me, being very apprehensive (and why I was apprehensive is that I have tried to stay in persona before and can't seem last over 2 minutes), so I said: Well how about for 5 minutes. She said, NO, let's do it til we arrive, which would be about an hour. Ummm, I thought, that is a long time.
What I found out:
It was rather simple to do with someone who also wants to do it!!
We tended to talk slower than normal as our brains searched for the right word or phrase. Upon getting lost to the event, we needed to ask directions and found it was hard to 'snap' out of persona. So, that was rather encouraging.
At the Enchanted Gazebo, which I decorated with silk banners and the device of the Persona Challenge and gold cord, it inadvertenly also became a Newcomer's Class - 5 of them came to the Persona Challenge. After I was done with the impromtu Newcomer's Class and explaining to them about Persona, 2 brave souls (not newcomers) and myself decided to partake of the Challenge. My friend Mademoiselle Sibila did not want to officially be in the challenge, but chimed right in when we were near by. I had a sticker on our person to show we were in the Persona Challenge. I don't know it that the sticker with the device on it was necessary but did it anyway.
First, we talked about what we were going to do. I had handouts on being in persona and how to develop your persona: like, Where do you live, what kind of house, who lives with you, what do you eat, what do you do during the day, what do you use for money, what kind of medicine is available, what do you do for fun, etc.
Then we told each other what we knew of our persona. Frau Went, from the Shire of Earnrokke (Whidbey Island, WA) who I had met last July at Summer Hunt V, where I went to see the grand persona challenge that they do, only knew of her nationality. She picked up a few German phrases from my list and off she went!!! His Lordship Stephen, the Merchant, from the Shire of Myrtleholt, the winner of the challenge, stepped up to the plate, too.
So, this was the plan: From when we left the Enchanted Gazebo, we would 'be in persona' and interact with everyone that way. Right before court we gathered and I asked each of us: What percentage of the time were you able to stay in persona? Now, mind you, this was over a 5 hour period. Went = 65%, Stephen = 85%, and me, well, I wasn't going to count myself anyway, and I really went downhill when I realized I was talking to Kale about Iron Man 2, so Stephen the Merchant won!!
We all had fun. We all found out it was easy to stay steady, even though others were not doing it. I also had other people come up to me and say, 'In the old days...there was much more persona talk going on and that the SCA has gotten away from that.' I also had people asking me how to say "Hello" in their persona's language.
So, for anyone interested, I will conduct this at other events I attend. All are welcome to come hear about it and then decide if you want to do it. We can all take a 'second' look at how we are presenting ourselves. Can we do something to hide the cell phone or the camera or the soda can? Can we decide, even though hard, to talk about Medieval subjects and tell our fellow camp mates that that is what you are going to try to do at the event. I am also a realist...most people are not into this part of our Dream, but for those who are, I think we can help make an event that much more special.
What I liked is that we didn't just 'leave it' in the Gazebo....we took it out into the event and someday maybe we will hear more "Bonjours", or "Guten Tags", or "Good day, M'Ladies/M'Lords" in the air and set more a mood for the great SCA that we all aspire to partake in!!!
What I would do differently:
I would meet early Saturday morning, as opposed to Saturday afternoon. A former King of Atenveldt wanted to play and a couple other fighters, but they were all fighting or helping. So, if we met around 9 am...discussed a few things and then let people be in persona ALL day, until right before court or feast, that would include a few others who may be interested. So, an early start, all day play...wow, who knows, we could really end up with the feel of the Medieval times!!! What fun!!
I will announce when I shall do this again, with autocrat's permission, and do come check it out and come play!!
(Actually, next time will be War of the Trees, Coquille, OR, June 5th, Sat at 9 am.....just talked to the autocrat!!!)
If I could do this, so could YOU at an event. Please contact me and I will get you info and get a list started of the folks who are interested in this: madamedupont@...
And if you do it at an event, we can all share what worked and what didnt' work.
A votre service,
Madame du Pont
Chateau du Merry Swan
Comte de Tymberhavene
Principante du Sommets
Royaume d'An Tir
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