(So, I helped make this. Just wanted to blog it for posterity.)
What happens when “the firm” throws a party? Some days ago I participated in a LARP event (Live Action Roleplaying) called Firmafesten (eng: The business party). Here’s the Facebook event: Firmafesten. And here’s all the pictures from the event. As I sit here ready to write about the events that unfolded I’m happy that I decided to do so: To help create the event and write this blog post as a retrospect because all too often events such as these fade into the background as our stressful daily lives come in full.
A live action role-playing game (LARP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters’ actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may be mediated by game rules, or determined by consensus among players. Source: Wikipedia
Studentteateret Immaturus was the organization behind the event. Specifically, these groups contributed: Impro-gruppene, Det Politiske Teater, Det Intime Prosjekt and Skrivegruppen. That last group listed was the writers group I’m in. My part in organizing the event was being a sort of creative advisor and motivator but the one’s who should be thanked for helping create the roles (writing & brainstorming) are Tove Tordson, Valeria Shuvatova, Henning Eide, Håvard Nyhagen Henriksen, Jonatan Lohne Abalon, Jarle Øyasæter and Simon. S. Olsen. The group leaders who took their time throughout the semester to meet and plan the event must also be thanked, especially the leader for the group leader Yri Amanda who fought hard to get people meeting which worked out in the end. :) And last but not least all the awesome people took time off that evening to just have a game of play pretend. :)
The story that appeared
For a full list of the roles please see this document. Here I’ll just try to give a short rundown of the main story that unfolded in between there were a lot of minor stories happening as well.
The date was May 11th 2013, the occasion a business party by and for the firm Johnsen & Johnson. For a while now the firm had been struggling financially, everybody knew but none had talked openly of it. Gerd Johnson (The old) was still in denial but had eventually been forced to realize that the firm was in trouble and she had asked her son Johnson (the younger) to try and formulate some plan to fix make things right.
Arriving at the evening the employees knew nothing more than that there would be an important presentation towards the end of the evening where Johnson & Johnson would present a new direction for the firm.
People engaged in merriment. Saying hello to each other and talking about work & leisure. Some schemed and plotted to advance themselves within the firm other people tried their very best at not appearing incompetent before the management.
Eventually the presentation came about. Johson & Johson revealed the sorry state of the firm to their fateful employees explaining that it had been bought by a huge corporation known as Epic Corporation and that their firm would called department J from thereon. While the employees were still in shock three people set up a powerpoint to show all the employees the new direction of the firm (or sub-department). This did naturally not go down well with the employees who reacted with some anger. Even more the chief of the human resource department revealed himself to be the new department chief.
Eventually I as MiddleBoss went up and thanked for some very explanatory speeches and I tried to tide things over by saying that “we’ll discuss this on Monday, for now let’s party.”
And we partied.
(That’s kinda how it went. Off course, there were several sub-plots that unfolded as well.)
If you participated and would like to share your story please post it as comment below if you will in Norwegian or English no matter. :)
Lessons learned, stuff created
So, how would you create a LARP?
- Create some roles & a general backstory to the event. Here’s what we created.
- Hand the roles out on beforehand. This is to ensure that people show up. Be sure to keep people posted in the event to create buzz. I posted videos like this.
- Create a basic overview over the central parts and post it in the event. Since naturally people in the firm would know of each other it seemed fitting to post such an overview. Furthermore by tagging people in the overview that also helped create buzz.
- On the evening be sure to have the overview (like the picture above) printed and posted on a wall so that participants can remind themselves of peoples’ parts.
- Print and post a general info page for new people to quickly figure out what a laiv is. Please note that participants were also informed of a couple of safety rules.
- Have a clear indication of when the game starts. At the event people ended up being somewhat unsure of whether or not they should arrive in character. I made sure to inform everybody that the game would start when the first speech was made inside the main hall. Before having the speech I informed everyone about the game in general and answered everybodys questions.
- Then the game was on! :)
- Finishing the game. At some point some people and I just felt that the game had arrived at a good point to end it. We then walked around and just thanked people for playing the game. Afterwards people stuck around just to have a chat about how their experience playing had been.