[Ansteorra] High Personna

Michael Gunter countgunthar at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 21 08:47:24 PST 2008

> It is nice to see that I am not the only one who had some fears of high> persona. While I enjoy it, I am not much of a wordsmith. So I too tend to> stay back and let things happen.
I agree with Sir Jean-Paul in that Michael Gunter is pretty much
the same guy as Count Sir Gunthar. But high personna, like period
food, has generated a bad reputation because of poor presentation.
For a very long time I, like much of the SCA, felt period food was
horrible. But that is because the attempts of period cooking I'd tasted
was, um......unfortunate. It was only after discovering the correct
spicing and techniques that I found that period food was actually a
very interesting and tasty cuisine.
This is much like "Personna Play". I've experienced "High Personna"
events that have made me just turn and walk away from people in
disgust. They will be laughing and joking and being, well, normal and
then will suddenly remember they are "Being in PERSONNA" and will
effect an accent and go something like, "M'lord? For what is this strange
thing you speak of?" They will act astounded at the food or cringe in
fear at an airplane flying over. Basically it made me feel I was at a
bad Rennaissance Faire or encountering a bunch of Captain Kirks on the
I've also seen wonderful personna play. What makes it wonderful? Because
it isn't "play". People act as they would in period without pretense.
My favorite little personna play was Hrabia Jan at Lions tourney. He
was holding court and kept making mistakes to which the herald would
quietly correct him. At one point, as if speaking to himself, he muttered
he needed to learn how to write so he could create these things called
"lists".  It was subtle and a perfect example of personna play. 
When I walk onto the tournament field and salute my Crown, my Lady
and my Honored Oppoent I'm doing personna play. I also mean it.
When I talk politics of what the Crown or Nobles are doing. That is personna
play even though I'm talking about the business doings of the SCA.
Drinking out of my period krug instead of a Coke can or even a
modern pewter mug is personna play.
Personna play isn't speaking "forsoothly". It's trying to look more of the
part. It's avoiding talk of Star Trek or WoW. It's descretely covering
the ice chest. It's believing in the oaths you swear. It is acting as
you would act if suddenly put into that world. It is carrying that basket
or helping someone set up or unload or encouraging new folks. (Okay,
carrying the basket and helping unload a pickup aren't "personna play"
so much as creating the Victorian ideal we all grew up with.)
Michael Gunter believes in honor. He wants to help an overburdened
lady carry her groceries in the Kroger parking lot. He believes in 
keeping his word. In fair play. He will help out an Alliance character
who is losing to a nasty mob in WoW even though he is Horde.
The difference is that Count Gunthar gets to help that lady. He
also has the chance to swear oaths and believe them. He gets to
help a member of an enemy army out of the bushes or in single
Making the SCA a better place all around to remind people of what
we are trying to do is personna play.
I will try to do a better job.
Climb to the top of the charts! Play the word scramble challenge with star power.

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