[Periodencampments] Theater or Research?

John LaTorre jlatorre at midtown.net
Sat May 5 11:07:58 PDT 2001

"C. Weed" wrote:

> Over the last few years I have noticed that many of my friends have opted to
> shift from a more devil-may-care style of camp to what they call a 'period'
> camp.
> Where do most of you here on this list stand?  I'll save my position for
> later... for now, I'm curious what you lot think.

For me, it's one of the beauties of the SCA is that there's
no need to pigeonhole an activity into either category. It's
all a matter of personal preference and personal fulfilment.
It's a Good Thing because while there's a certain amount of
impetus to make one's encampment more accurate or "period"
(either from personal satisfaction or peer approval),
there's nothing that tells you that if you can't play up to
a certain level, then you can't play at all.

The result is that people are comfortable in the environment
as long as they make a rudimentary attempt to keep the
blatant anachronisms out of sight of the Main Event. In many
(most?) cases, their camps gradually get better looking
because they want to get closer to that Event, or because
they become interested in how people in period interacted
with the artifacts of their era (and the only way you can
really do that is to find or make those artifacts and
interact with them).

I applaud those primitive woodworkers, and if I ever camp
near them, I might like to take my period frame saw and
period mallets and period jack plane and ask them if I could
play with them. But I still have a Coleman stove back in my
tent, because my energies are finite and I'd rather keep the
cooking modern and speedy so I can have the time to do other
things at the event. Similarly, my lady-wife sometimes
brings a hand-cranked drum carder to events for her textile
buddies to use. It's not a period tool, AFAIK, but if you
want to process a lot of wool for a lot of people, that's
the tool you need. She knows how to hand-card, and she'll
teach it at the drop of a spindle, but this an instance
where she'll make a concession to efficiency for the sake of
making the textile arts accessible to more people.

In short, the SCA needs the purists, but it needs the casual
players, too. And also everything and everybody in between.


John LaTorre (Johann von Drachenfels)

"Always do right. It will gratify some people & astonish the
--Mark Twain

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