|ON EARLY PERIOD PERSONA by Andras Salamandra
|A well-developed, historically based persona should be one of the goals of each SCA member. One of the most important (and most entertaining) parts of an authentic persona is the ability to think (and thus act) like you persona really would. Dressing appropriately is part of the act, but ACTING appropriately and creatively is more important. Some of you have probably met a filthy, rag-attired peasant living in the South Downs who bears an uncanny resemblance to Duke Orlando. While this flea-bitten beggar certainly won't win and best-dressed contests among the local nobility, his persona is well developed, his actions appropriate, and he stands out from the crowd. The following are some sample 'situations' in which enterprising folk could win acclaim: A samurai goes into a melee with his lord, and his lord is killed. If you place yourself in a historical samurai's zori (shoes), the only honorable thing to do is to commit seppuku, the ritual suicide of a disgraced warrior. Optionally, if you think that you're good enough, you could revenge your lord by killing the enemy first. A group of samurai could assist each other in committing seppuku. A group of Celtic warriors go into battle with their swords, spears, and shields. Early Celtic swords are reputed to have bent easily in combat, and some tales refer to the Celts pulling back from the fighting and jumping up and down on their swords to straighten them out. Rather memorable, isn't it? A tournament is held, which you, a Celt, enter. You watch some funny looking coward wearing full plate armor (every Celt knows that real men bare their breasts to their foes!) walk up to a pretty young lady and ask her for a "favor", which is one of those fancy foppish words for a gift. By listening to the other fighters around you, you realize that he thinks this will impress the lady. Obviously you know better. After all, what self-respecting warrior would try to impress a woman by asking her for a gift? Go show her how a real man treats a woman and giver her something like a big chunk of gold jewelry. Throw in the severed head of the aforementioned armored coward as an added bonus. Did you know that at one time the Saxons would dye their beards blue to honor the king? Use tempera paint, which reputedly washes out, and devise an appropriate reason for the honor. As a devout Muslim, you could tell each of your opponents in a tournament the following: "It is not the will of Allah that good men should die. Repent, embrace Islam, and your life shall be spared! This I ask three times, as it is written in the Koran." I heard this ritual over ten years ago, and still remember it and that man who used it. Develop your persona history in a period style. Master Orric's poetic autobiography, following this article, is an excellent example of how to go about this. If you can sing recited poetry, or play an instrument, mingle in among the populace at a tourney or revel and entertain. Don't demand attention or silence; earn it through the quality of your skill. You will find that a host of "little touches" will cause more comment that one big, expensive project. Be consistent, be creative, be in good taste, and you will become an SCA legend.