The Larp O’ the Irish


… my apologies for that appalling pun.  But I grew up there so I can get away with it.

Another reason I can get away with it is that it’s my lovely sister Carla who is bringing the gift of larp to Limerick, which happens to be European City of Culture for 2014.

The financial crisis has hit the city of Limerick hard, as elsewhere in Ireland.  One good consequence of this is that artists’ studios pop up in peculiar places – a former city centre Benetton store, for example.  An enlightened local government policy allows landlords property tax exemptions if they allow artists to use spaces.  Low rents and Ireland’s still-generous welfare system have also contributed to a mini-renaissance of Irish art.

Carla is hosting as artist-in-residence the one and only Fredrik Hossmann, who will be running his larp Before and After Silence this weekend.  I met Fredrik at Knutpunkt this year and one of the particular pleasures of the event was playing Hug Street on the bus to Gothenburg.  Before and After Silence, as the name suggests, is played entirely in silence, with characters occupying their own imaginal worlds.


This introductory event is by way of warming up the Irish cultural world for a bigger one this August when Nina Runa Essendrop comes to run her larp White Death at a Limerick Art Gallery.  I haven’t read the script for this larp but I do know that it’s also entirely silent!  (I wonder what effect this might have on Irish larp in generations to come?  Perhaps Irish NordProgLarp will be distinguished by its total lack of words …)  Nina’s larp focuses on a group of people who move to the mountains to establish a new community.  It doesn’t go well for them, but transcendence beckons …

The plan is for White Death to be the centrepiece of a weekend of events.  For example, I’m hoping to run New Voices in Art, which I’ve mentioned here before.  I like it because it’s relatively straightforward for new players (like me) and because it employs just one metatechnique, ‘Ping the Glass’.  If a player pings another player’s glass, the second player has to give an internal monologue, which is heard by the players but not by their characters.


Last night I played a game called Wherewolf with a bunch of people in Brighton, near where I live.  It’s a much more complex version of the old party game Mafia, which I used to play on family holidays.  I was lucky to draw the ‘Clairvoyant’ card, which meant that I was the key player in the villagers’ battle against the wolves.  Great fun.

It’s not exactly Nordic larp, of course, because it’s a game where people are trying to win, but I’m hoping to find a few people to play a larp some time over the next few weeks.



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