So this has properly been one of the most intense periods of my life. First internship at the roleplaying school Østerskov Efterskole, then new job and moving and then Larpwriter Summer School followed up with a week in Vilnius leading up to the first Metamorphosis larp convention.
I should start with Østerskov, but I’m not gonna. I’m gonna start with the summer school while it’s still fresh in my mind. But where to start? I want to do as always and write a play report of each game I played, but I also want to try and tell about the summer school. It would be good with some kind of structure, but I think I’m just gonna do as always and ramble.
So: Larpwriter Summer School (let’s call it LSS from now on) is this program, that I think is some kind of EU supported ting, that wants to have people from Europe and Belarus to meet and exchange ideas and friendship in the name of freedom and democracy and other such ideals. But also give people the skills to design larps that can change the world. Or something like that.
But it is so much more than that, it’s the sum of the people there. It takes place in an old soviet summer camp called Rüta in the middle of a forest in Lithuania by a lovely lake in somewhat old buildings with all of the luxury of the soviet area. So already from the beginning we are sort of isolated in this magic forest, with only a few very puzzled other guests arounds us.
To get to go, you have to apply and tell why you should get to go, but I don’t know if they even reject any one? But I got in and went to this place. What hit me very quickly was how well this was planned. Not only was the very packed program run with forceful effectively but also the ehm. Well, design philosophy behind it was very clear.
Every choice is deliberate and it all works together to create an atmosphere unlike any I have ever experienced. Just one example I have used a lot: on the first day, within the first hour they presented us with the rule of the open chair. That means that if someone is having a conversation, then you are allowed to join unless they say it’s private. And if someone is sitting alone you should ask are you having some alone time or would you like some company?
Fastaval operates like this as well, but it’s an unspoken rule and I remember at my first Fastaval I didn’t realize this until day three. It takes guts to talk to a complete stranger even at a convention. But when the organizers start out with presenting this rule it becomes infinitely easier. So even it sounds a bit hippyish it really works, and helped little shy me a lot.
That combined with the very well made program where each item supported each other and by just the shared experience among the participants meant they I now feel very close to the people that where there. Imaged an efterskole stay condensed to a week and you get LSS.
Another good example of the togetherness of the program was that we played a lot of larps and there was also held a few larp presentation where organizers from some of the bigger larps in Scandinavia like Kapo and Monitor Celesta would present the games and talk about them using the overall framework of the summer school, something i’ll come back to.
Then all other presentations would use these games as reference. So everybody would know of the games mentioned in talks and workshops, because we had either had them presented or had played them. That was just brilliant, because we come from such different backgrounds. From me who have role played and designed for mostly Fastaval, but never tried real larps to people who had never roleplayed in their life. Such a small thing but brilliant.
That was the overall presentation over the next weeks I’ll describe each day and what we did.
If you normally read this blog, you might be wondering why it’s suddenly in english, well a few reasons: first I suddenly know a lot of international people, and i’d like them to be able to read along. This is also meant for the organizers, I know how much this kind of reading means for an organizer, so I want them to be able to read it as well. Finally it just happened, when I started writing it just felt natural to write in english. does this mean the blog will be in english from now on? I don’t know, maybe.
Great beginning, Simon:) to clarify, due to the application thing, a lot of people did actually get declined, since there was only room for so many participants. So yes, the western, privileged larpers of us were lucky to be able to join:)
Really did not know that, thanks, now I feel even more lucky!
Great read, looking forward to more. Also we cook it down to Lwss2015 or lwss if in general speech. 😉 and English is the new black!
I’ll start useing that shorthand then 🙂