Personna views was RE: Magic Moments

Lenny Zimmermann zarlor at
Tue Jul 1 11:03:20 PDT 1997

On Sat, 28 Jun 1997 16:41:16 -0500, Gio wrote:

>The way I see it, the time my personna comes from is around 1410 and
>there were so many disparate cultures among Europe alone
>that I don't really see him knowing about the customs of all of them.
>Or, as Mistress Mari put it once, decribing her personna's view of
>`outsiders' ..."not my tribe!"  
>Giovanni interprets that as "Florence is the height of civilization!
>Of course, everyone else is backward!"  [insert huge grin]

I think most of us see it that way. In fact, it's not hard to do at
all, since to our modern sensibilities seeing all of these people in
obviously different clothing styles from obviously different cultures
is a bit strange anyways. Stranger in a strange land is exactly how I
prefer to view it even for persona motivation.

I also tend to try and use my knowledge of theater and performance
where I can in playing persona. You really don't HAVE to know
everything about your persona's culture and history to "play" them. It
can help add a good deal of depth to the performance, but the biggest
thing I think I have found of importance in persona play is simply
being able to improv modernity into non-modern forms. Switching "I
liked your post on Ansteorra Net" to "I received your missive about
showing ourselves to be examples of chivalry and honour and I fully
agree." You said the same thing, even in modern english, you just
avoided talking about the Net and things obviously modern.

Admittedly you actually end-up thinking about the modern form and how
to change it to non-modern, changing the moment slightly for you from
being completely a "persona experience", but I tend to think of
persona play as performance. I try to do persona, not just because I
like it, but because I hope I can provide a venue or ambiance for
others. Sometimes that means I have to work extra hard at avoiding
modernity, even with someone who insists on talking about it with me,
but as long as I can be understood by the person I am speaking with
and can still provide a bit of ambience for anyone who might happen to
overhear me in passing, then I'm doing pretty good. Sometimes
modernity cannot be avoided, such as for some forms of Society
business, in which case I try to think of persona play as a courtesy
to others and try to move to conversation to someplace where it will
not interfere with the enjoyment of others who may be enjoying one of
those "magic moments". 

It's not always easy, and there are many who are not interested in
persona play. Far be it from me to gainsay them or what they intend to
get out of the SCA. I do hope, however, that I can provide some level
of ambience for those who do wish to play persona and even for those
who don't. Maybe they can see just how much fun it can be. :-)

Maybe I should try to put together a class on persona from the
performance viewpoint, instead of the usual "what would your persona
know" viewpoint. Any thoughts? 

Honos Servio,
Lionardo Acquistapace, Bjornsborg
(mka Lenny Zimmermann, San Antonio)
zarlor at

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