Sharing Table-space (Was RE: SCA feasts)

Baker, Mike mbaker at
Mon Jan 13 09:42:00 PST 1997

Many of my most memorable SCA feast experiences involve table companions 
both deliberate and accidental. (And Steppes-folk will no doubt recall my 
recurrent harangue about being prepared to accomodate newcomers & visitors 
from my recent stint as Hospitaller...)

Sharing table can be a difficult thing, however, and it is no doubt a good 
idea to review some of the simple ways in which it can be better 

SPACE:  not every feast-hall is really large enough for a complex decorated 
table. We should all remain considerate, and even consider strongly packing 
away the extra non-functional items in our spreads as it appears obvious 
that table-top areas are at a premium.  If this frees sufficient space to 
allow "adoption" of strays, please be pro-active and do so!

DELIBERATE GUESTING: (best coordinated with the local Hospitaller and Gate 
personnel) Set an extra pair of spaces, or enough to complete the common six 
or eight settings per table, and invite newcomers to join you for the 
evening. Beyond the joys of meeting new people, this scheme also allows you 
to maintain a decorative theme when entering competition for table 
decorations without appearing stand-offish by refusing space to latecomers. 
And all for the simple cost of cleaning a few extra place settings (plus the 
probable assistance of "your" guests in packing things away).

SHARING THE BOUNTY: even where there is plenty of space, setting out a good 
spread of tidbits well before feast can serve several purposes. For persona 
play, I have used a Twelfth Night spread to show success in the prior year 
as a merchant. For bakers, cooks, vintners, and others who produce 
comestible substances, the pre-feast offerings can showcase their works in a 
non-competitive way.  Even the potters, needleworkers, weavers, and other 
artisans can display their respective skills unobtrusively by means of feast 
table embellishments.

RANDOM ASSIGNMENT: (proposed; I have never seen this done at an SCA feast) 
For a smaller feast-hall, or as a "mixer", consider what might be 
accomplished by assigning couples / households to tables semi-randomly. 
 Avoiding the placement of known social enemies in close proximity, assigned 
seating would no doubt be best accomplished when advanced registration is 
required for feast. (Of course, adjust seat assignments as necessary when 
the inevitable no-shows occur.)

A few thoughts, of which it is my fervent wish that you who read these words 
may find some inspiration for improving the feast experience.

Amr ibn Majid al-Bakri al-Amra
     currently residing in Barony of the Steppes, Kingdom of Ansteorra
Mike C. Baker                      mbaker at
Any opinions expressed are obviously my own unless explicitly stated 

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