At the danish short larp festival blackbox copenhagen I played “Beginning” by Nina Runa Essendrop. The game was based on a development of the blind animals exercise which we had worked with at “play with methods” a few months earlier.
The larp was focused around experiencing yourself and the world through the larp performance. You would play a blind (blindfolded) and speechless being awakening and evolving until it returned to sleep.
The larp was played in a blackbox with theater lighting and apart from that the scenography mainly consisted of smells and physical objects which could be experienced by touch. The larp was played with bare feet to better experience the different textures and objects which was introduced to the game. There was a soundscape for the larp, cut only by passages of thunder when we were supposed to go to the next phase of the larp.
The organizers would play “wardens”. Beings that could influence the players in different ways. They would show themselves by touching your face with both hands and you were then supposed to comply to whatever they wanted – not least because of safety (for example if you were on your way to wonder of to outside the play area).
We were workshopped for around three hours before the larp. The workshop was particularly focused on getting us comfortable with blindness, but we also rehearsed all the aspects of the larp several times as we would not be able to communicate about it during the larp.
We played for one hour, which did not feel like a long time at all. During the game we were supposed to go through 5 phases; from awakening, lying on the floor barely moving, to crawling, over half crouching to standing and moving freely and back again to sleeping or stillness. During the game the organizers introduced different objects and experiences such as cornflakes on the floor, oregano, Christmas decorations and so on which we as players could engage with as we wanted to.
For me the larp was not about telling a story, but about experiencing myself and the being that I was slowly becomming.But also to explore the space and the other beings that were in the room and attempt to communicate without language or sight. I have no clear conception of a personal storyline, but more a series of strong tactile experiences that i take with me from the game.
Beginning was a lovely bodily experience and i absolutely cherish the idea of working more with experiencing and discovering during larps than the traditional perspective of acting out stories or scenes. This emergent design philosophy has yet to be explored extensively and I hope that we will see much more of this in the future. Beginning has inspired me to start working with a “blind animals” adaptation of my own, a bit more focused around my fascination with the magic of not knowing your co-players and the alibi which is produced in this context. At prolog 2014 I will work with a longer performance, that players can choose to enter or leave at any point, during the four hours it will last.