[Periodencampments] Theater or Research?

Wendy Freeman/Otte wyllowmacm at netscape.net
Mon May 7 10:54:36 PDT 2001

This is a good question - I never thought of it this way.

I started as "theater" - covering coolers with blankets, etc.  But it felt "fake" and I  wanted the real experience.

So, I started working towards camping in a more authentic manner.  I started small - a hanging net of fruit, an iron pot for cooking.  Then I started bigger projects - finding PJs in the dark is much easier with a wooden bedbox, and a rope bed with a straw tick is *very* comfortable.  But I also discovered that I was so exhausted from hauling the stuff around, that I stopped enjoying the experience. (I never found the small army of porters that went with an encampment.)

I once had the opportunity to camp "in person" - wrapped in an alisaed in front of a fire, with only a cookpot & a packet of oatmeal.  But some well-meaning gentle insisted on settign up a spare dome tent behind me "in case I needed it."  <<grr...weather was perfect, event was perfect, society is not ready...>>

Recently, I've been compromising.  I pack a small ethanol stove to beat appease the morning coffee monster, a wheeled rubbermaid to quickly load water-perishables when it floods, and gallon waterjugs to avoid the local-water plagues.  Instead of trying to make the entire camping experience "real", I set up historical micro-sites, focussing on using the authentic tools and methods for whatever projects I have planned for the event, and cheat on the areas that will only exhaust me for no good reason.
For example, why spend hours slaving over a fire to cook a single bowl of oatmeal, especially since I have usually cleaned my breakfast dishes before most people have started to even stir?  But I will chop the wood and build a fire to try out a new breakfast dish - then force it on as many early-risers as possible.

Have others reached the same point of compromise?  Does anyone know of a (cheap) source of porters, so I could camp in style?

In Service,
Lady Wyllow MacMuireadhaigh
Loch Soillier, Ansteorra

periodencampments at ansteorra.org wrote:
> Greetings,
> I'm new to this list so forgive me if I am drumming up an old subject.
> 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.  There seems to be,  however, two schools of thought on this: one that
> maintains that the environment they keep at events conjures an *image* of
> what life may have been like, and one that attempts to actually get a feel
> for the way it may have actually been through the scope of what we're able
> to take with us to the local State Park.  Essentially, one group treats an
> SCA outing like a theater project and the other treats it like a living
> history project.
> An example of the theater crowd might be a group of friends here in
> Ansteorra who run a tavern at events... coolers in wood boxes, kegs out of
> sight, outrageous wigs and false cockney accents.  They work very hard at
> painting a stage in Elizabethan gentry colors.
> An example of the history crowd might be a group of friends who meet in
> Calontir at big events to set up a period woodshop; hewing logs, dragging
> them up to the shop, and using period tools and sweat to make more tools,
> furniture, and sundry other medieval necessities.  They work very hard to
> give people an accurate picture of what is involved in using those tools in
> that environment.
> 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.
> D. in Ansteorra
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> Periodencampments at ansteorra.org
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--Wendy F. Otte

"To err is human; it takes a computer to really foul things up!"  --Anonymous

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