118. Road Trip larp, Part Three: Playing among strangers

This is the third part of the series on the Road Trip larp project. If you want to start from the first post, it is #116.

For most of Road Trip, we were playing amongst ourselves. In the cars, at rest stops, in hotel rooms and at random locations on the way. We weren’t always alone, though. One of the core components of Road Trip was playing among strangers — people who had no idea that we weren’t what we pretended to be.

There are many interesting (and some disturbing) facets to discuss in that regard. They’ll come later in the blog series. For this part of it, I’m going to share some thoughts on how playing with strangers worked — not whether it’s good or bad (or why). This is just about the execution of the idea.

The short explanation is that while the 22 participants of Road Trip were playing characters, nobody else knew that this was the case. To everyone else, we presented ourselves as a rock band on tour, so that’s what we were received as. Maybe some knew that we were playing — but if so, they didn’t let on. For all we know, some of them saw right through us. But I’m assuming that most didn’t.

The Road Trip series follows a Ten Lessons learned format, so with that introduction out of the way, I present you with Ten Lessons Learned From Playing Among Strangers.

  1. Playing in consensus reality makes for great immersion. My late friend (and longtime larper) Elge Larsson often used the word consensus reality. Here, we played around in it. No elves, pirates, wizards or secret cults (that we knew of!), but bartenders, musicians and partygoers. It’s easy to feel that it’s real when you’re playing in a 360 degree illusion. Because it is, even if your own story isn’t.

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Director at The College of Extraordinary Experiences, Coach at McKinsey & Founding Partner at The Global Institute For Thought Leadership. Author of 31 books.

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