Our last blog post was about expanding the hobby beyond blank fire battles and the inherent problems with only focusing on “trigger time.” Now, we will go much deeper.
One thing we quickly learned was that some settings
or events were more conducive to our zone than others. It was the same with people. Some were more adept at getting into the necessary mindset,
sticking with it, and helping others get there, too. We called these
places and people "zoney."
Over time, we have come to a
different understanding of “zone.” We no longer narrowly define it as
just a physical area where modern talk and items are barred. We have come to
realize that zone happens in the mind. It requires not only a solid
foundation in period historical knowledge, but also imagination,
including the ability to look at something absurd, or anachronistic, and
be able to work it in to a period mindset. Zone, for us, is both the
non-tangible, theoretical metaphysics of reenacting, and the hard,
existential aspect of things that exist in the world. It is both mental
and physical. If he chooses to do so, one person, alone, in nearly any
setting, can put himself in the zone. Zoniness is a word we use that describes those intangible aspects of a
person, place or thing that make it suitable for creating a feeling of,
"this is what it may have been like." Often zoniness is a
subjective evaluation, a quality impossible to measure or quantify. It
is entirely separate from the concept of authenticity. A brand-new
reproduction bread bag, for example, can be a totally authentic thing
from a material culture standpoint. However, a well-used post-war bread
bag, showing age and use, with repairs and obvious traces of wear, may
be a more zoney thing, even if it is objectively less authentic than a
reproduction, due to some minor and easily overlooked construction
feature. Zoney items evoke an emotion, a feel. A zoney item, if it could
talk, would tell a story about the war. Further, such items allow us to
become part of that story.
Zoniness is the
exact reason why all modern items are banned from our unit. It is the
reason chairs and camp furniture are banned. It is the reason why every member of the unit
is required to have a fully fleshed-out first-person persona. It is the
reason we don’t like “trigger time.” It is the reason we are very
different type of unit than most living history organizations.
is more to reenacting than putting on a uniform and shooting blanks at
people. This is reenacting 101. It’s how you get introduced to the
hobby. It’s the lowest common denominator. Many never grow out of this
stage. Others go far beyond it…
See you in the Zone.