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Monday, January 4, 2010

LAM 2010 - Setting the Stage : EVENTS

Number Two - Historical Events

This is a generalized time line taken from the Penguin Historical Atlas of the Vikings.

I have cut a slice here, which reflects the possibilities for any of DARC's historic characters. I have used a framework starting at 950, and running through to 1005 (as presented in the source table. This obviously lists the only the largest events.

Key to this is fixing the year date of the presentation. Staff interpreters at LAM do not refer to a specific date in their presentation. If pressed, they will vaguely reference 'about 1000 AD'.

A short background to theory here:
There are a couple of differing ways a living history program could deal with this statement of dates.
1) Refer only to some general historic era (Viking Age). As you might guess, this generally supports only the lowest level of characterization for the individual interpreter (commentary or 3rd person).
2) Relate to a general event (Norse at Vinland). This appears to be the approach being taken at LAM by the staff. Again this supports 2nd person, maybe 1st person characterizations. This would narrow the focus down to roughly 1000 - 1020 AD. The year 1000 is most likely to be given as the general round number.
3) Pick a specific year. Often this target year is researched in great detail, then repeated annually (an example would be Plimoth Plantation) This becomes most useful when delivering full role playing characterizations.
4) A specific, but shifting, year. In the past this has been the normal approach used by DARC, typically we have simply subtracted 1000 from the current year.

Now, one potential problem with the use of a single (repeating) target year is that it does not have provision for the natural ageing of interpreters. DARC has attempted to deal with that by using the shifting date. This is only a problem when you are considering the deep details of a characterization - which is 'what do I know'. Obviously, some of us have characters that have been presented, sometimes with little modification, for over 15 years. Obviously, 'we are not the (wo)men we once were'.
(There is a further consideration of characters and physical ageing to be discussed, but I will leave that for a future posting.)

So the slice of time seen above brackets the potential life of our oldest character (certainly Kettil), but does not extend much past the Vinland presentation date.

Obviously there needs to be a regional aspect added. If Ragnarr is originally from Denmark, what he knows about events is most certainly different from what Kettil knows (Norway born). The next posting will look at geography.


Author's Note: This part of a series of shorter descriptions that will add together to paint a picture of the background to DARC's upcoming presentation at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC in August of 2010. Taken together, these articles will deal with a number of specific interpretive elements, using Vinland in the Viking Age as the concrete example. These are most likely to presented here very much in a random order. Hope is to tie them together into a coherent package to be delivered at Forward Into the Past in late March.

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