1. What is this thing called LARP? Where can I find out more about it?
LARP means Live Action Role Playing, which you probably did when you were a kid. LARP is what you call it when you do it as a grownup. Meet our stars Aly Viny and Christiana Cole here. They’ll explain key LARP-ing terms like boffer, min-maxing, and clarify.
2. Why do people LARP?
Role Playing Games (or RPGs) are how people make sense of the world; from playing cops and robbers as kids, to rooting for our favorite baseball teams as adults, role-playing gives us social tools, community, and identity. Most people who would use the term RPG however, are playing games with names like Dungeons & Dragons, Rifts, and Vampire: The Masquerade.
3. So your show is about LARPers.
Yep! In Game follows players of a Live Action Role Playing game (or LARP) who deal with the drama of their own lives by temporarily escaping into their game. These people must not only deal with their real world problems, but the problems that exist in their game, and the organizational politics of their club. Their only hope is that through the game they can learn to be more fully realized versions of themselves, like the characters they play.
4. How did LARP get started?
Table-top RPGs arguably began in the 1970s with systems like Dungeons & Dragons, and LARPs based on those soon followed. While many LARPs are based on the table-top games, LARP as a discipline is as old as the first campfire stories, and as modern as Sleep No More. There are many styles of LARP, ranging from Civil War Reenactments to Theatrical LARPing (the subject of this program) to Nordic LARPs, which are quite the opposite end of the spectrum. For more on these, click on the links above. Here's a good site about all things LARP related.
5. Are you LARP-ers?
Some of us are. We are all card-carrying nerds. Players of videogames, watchers of sci-fi, debaters of the finer points of geek culture.
6. What do you mean, not all of you LARP? That’s outrageous!
All of us have been to LARPs! Our director Mark is the most hardcore LARP-er, having been doing it for more than 15 years. He’s also a magician, a film-maker, and gamer.
Co-writer Zoe grew up on tabletop games like Talisman, and was an avid player of videogames since before the word “gamer” was a thing - this is someone who started with Repton on the BBC Micra, used Monkey Island’s French and German settings to get through highschool exams, and broke Tetris (did you know that the Windows 95 version flipped to negative numbers after 32,767 because it was coded using singler-integer precision arithmetic? Well, Zoe did that playing right hand against left on the top level).
Co-writer and star Keisha is a stalwart of the UCB theatre and New York comedy circles, and specializes in comedy from the perspective of outsiders and misfits who aren’t your typical hero, thus making her the perfect third in the triumvirate. We’ve worked together several times.
It was important for us that our team was expert in a mix of nerdery and comedy. This was partly so that LARP-ers and non-LARP-ers alike will feel welcome here, and also because, as the saying goes, “character is king”. Some folks (the annoying rules-lawyer types whose bickering has derailed many a LARP) treat game mechanics and worldbuilding as more important than character. But actually, the best LARPs and the best shows have in common that they are driven by rooting for characters as they get where they’re going.
7. Boffer LARP sounds more exciting to watch. How come your show is about theatrical LARP?
If boffer LARP is your thing, you can watch Game of Thrones. Seriously; trying to be GoT without GoT money is just gonna wind up looking cheap. Because Theatrical LARP focuses on role playing to the exclusions of physical action (violence is specifically banned in most games) players tend to focus more on the inner life of their characters rather than just the outer plot. Our show is about these six folks and how they use LARP to navigate the bullshit of everyday life. Theatrical LARP presents a bigger contrast between the humdrum of the real world and the sexy, steampunk reality of the “in game” world. It makes a virtue out of a necessity (ie, an FX budget of zero).
Over time, the show will explore other areas of LARP.
8. Is this show about a real LARP?
A) Yes. The club the characters belong to is loosely inspired by the Mind’s Eye Society, whose LARPs we’ve been to, among other LARPs.
B) No. The game in the show is not a real LARP currently or previously existing in the real world. It’s inspired by a variety of LARP genres - steampunk, vampires, etc. If you would like it to be made into a real LARP, join our mailing list. If we hit the magic number, we’ll be able to make the game and then you can play it.
9. Are you guys gonna host a LARP?
Yep. Details coming soon. Look for updates in 2015.
10. How did you shoot the show?
Over four days in two apartments in NYC, whose long-suffering owners let us borrow them. We didn’t break anything! Our cast and crew worked silly hours in rooms made unbearably hot by lights, and some of them while wearing leather corsets and/or metal armor (just the cast, promise).
We had some gorgeous cameras and lenses care of Don Downie, DP extraordinaire. Hire him.
11. Those costumes look amazing. I want! Where can I get them?
They are amazing! But they look like five times what they cost, thanks to the formidable Ryan Moller. We have a series of videos coming soon where Ryan and professional cosplayer Negative Stacey will talk you through what makes a costume steampunk vs Gothic vs Renaissance; teach you how to measure yourself when you’re ordering costume pieces, and much more. And check out Ryan’s website here. For a price, he will build you any of the costumes in the show, or anything else you need. Sign up to our mailing list if you are into the costumes and we'll notify you when the videos are up.
12. Your actors are hot and funny. I want to hire them. Can you help?
All their websites are on our “Meet the cast” page here. They are indeed hot and funny. They also worked very long hours in an uncomfortably warm room, dressed in full metal and leather costumes, without complaining once. You should hire them - they’re nice.