Player Character Bios in Participatory Media

Originally published in Escape Character’s Newsletter.

Question: What’s the best way to hack someone who’s never LARP’d[1] before to get into character?

Our goal here is to have the player buy into the stakes of the show before they cross the threshold [2] into the space of the show. In Escape Character’s projects where the players talk directly to the actor, our initial moments have been charming, but the player engagement with their characters hasn’t persisted.

Stuff we’ve tried:
– Give them a profession: “You’re an inspector, your job is to investigate a dead body”
– Give them a unique characteristic: “You’re a nautical prodigy”

A new approach we’re trying is “You’re going to be a spy, and need to come up with a cover story”. The player does this in collaboration with the performer, and the performer pulls an appropriate prop out of the invisible Prop Box. (Suggested by performer Anders Yates)

Answer: Using collaborative “Cover Stories” seems to be a little better, but we’re still iterating.

The video above is from Sparasso [3], our in-development telepresence immersive theatre toolset for XR environments.

[1] LARP = Live Action Roleplaying
[2] From the Hero’s Journey
[3] Dionysus’ rebirth via disembodiment

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