What is Play / Test?
Play /Test is a series of events designed to test the experience of various art larps and participatory theatre events. The events are chosen to range over various techniques, levels of intensity, and topics. Most events are produced as “scratches” – minimal props and sceneography – in order to get and refine ideas for future workshops and productions. One event, Two Truths, will be fully realised in May 2018.
Larp is Live Action Role Playing. It is interactive play, a cocktail party in character, a chance to walk in and experience a situation in a character’s life. No performing is required.
Isn’t larp a game?
Yes – and no. The kinds of larps we’ll be exploring in Play / Test are generally called ‘free-form’, ‘chamber larps’, or ‘art larps.’ Most of them ask participants to put on a character. Some characters will have pre-determined goals, some won’t. Most of the games have little to no mechanics – no dice rolling, no card pulling, no rock-paper-scissors. They’re about finding and telling stories, exploring a character’s reality, or just stepping into different shoes for awhile.
What do I need to do to play?
Depends on the event. For the most part, show up when you sign up to do so – that’s all! Specific events require a little thinking or writing beforehand; costuming can also be fun. Each event posting will describe what is needed. You need to be willing to suspend your disbelief and use your imagination; there is no audience here and everyone plays. Each event begins with a short workshop; each ends with a short collective debrief.
So what’s the NUI Galway connection?
Play / Test is part of the NUI Galway O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance through Sarah Hoover, a PhD Candidate there. It is supported by the Irish Research Council. As a research project, we are interested in exploring the kinds of games that are almost theatre and theatre events that are almost games. Sessions may be recorded and researchers may examine them; no data will be released without consent of the participants. Sarah Hoover is the lead researcher on the project; you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com.
Want more info on larps?
Nordic Larp: Nordiclarp.org
Irish Game Association: www.iga.ie