In the larp conference Knutepunkt I ran into a few theatre people. Now, this doesn’t really happen. Usually it is the role-players who are interested in theatre theory, not the other way around. Yet this year Johanna MacDonald, Aarni Korpela and others from Teatteri Naamio ja Höyhen showed up in Norway. They ran a number of program items, including a test run of an earlier version an upcoming show, Walkabout.
Now the show is starting to be ready to be performed and participated in. The website calls Walkabout an “18-hour performative game” and then describes the project as follows:
Wishing you were somewhere exotic, but can’t afford the ticket or the time? Do you want to see the world as you’ve never seen it before? Would you like to come out and play… spending a night in another reality?
It’s theatre! It’s performance! It’s experimance! It’s LARP! Whatever it is, we call it Walkabout. The playing fields are the territory of the soul, the so-called “reality” of Helsinki, and one pure fiction, somewhere between game and show. What you see and what you get all depends on you: whether you choose to experience, influence, or just watch Walkabout go by, you’re sure to be a part of it. All we desire is that you come as you are.
Now I’m pretty sure I’d call that a pervasive game. I’m actually quite excited about this project. What I know about it is quite ambitious. If directors Korpela and MacDonald manage to pull it all off, this may very well end up being the most exciting pervasive play ever staged in Finland. And, quite frankly, I think that one of their strengths is that they are not only aware of the history of experimental theater, but also of the gaming scene. The directors describe the project:
One morning, suffering from post-production emptiness, Aarni came up with the idea that we’d do a larp-based ”performance”. It was only logical, really – the performances we’d had had been approaching that area lately, the last performance we’d done had been an improvised game, and Aarni had also attended some interesting larps lately, becoming more and more interested in the middle ground that was still (for us at least) uncharted. Johanna, who had similar interests, hopped on board early on, and before we knew it, we were chin-deep in it.
What we set out to do was to make a game combining the methods of larp, theatre and performance, but something you could be a part of without any prior experience of any of them (or a lot of all of them). We wanted to create a world that would be compelling and have the feel of being real and complex, but not in conflict with the ”real world” – an experience where you wouldn’t need to separate between fact and fiction, being, performing and playing. Having both of those levels there, but not in conflict – having the cake and eating it too.
There are only four shows. Book your place now.