Pre-Bleed is Totally a Thing

Pre-Bleed is Totally a Thing

Pre-bleed is the experience of emotional bleed – usually but not exclusively from character to player – prior to ever playing the character in a larp setting. This paper considers multiple instances of pre-bleed experienced by players of College of Wizardry 5 (“CoW5”).[1]Charles Bo Nielsen, Dracan Dembinski, and Claus Raasted, et al., College of Wizardry 5 (Poland: Liveform and Rollespilsfabrikken, 2014).

In the months before CoW5 a number of players used a mixture of prolonged online role-playing, Google Hangouts, co-authored documents, and an in-game Facebook-inspired social media platform called Czochabook to build their characters and create a shared backstory. This allowed players to stay continuously in-game for a prolonged period, which led to a heightened level of character engagement and deeper player and character relations. However, the intensity of emotions experienced was unexpected, particularly for larpers who were yet to play their characters in a physical setting.

For this study, we’ve chosen a mixture of research methods: a survey, semi-structured ethnographic interviews with a cross-section of respondents and autoethnographic pieces. The paper is a mixture of interviews with experienced larpers and first time players, with autoethnographic analysis of player-generated pre-game documentation. The paper presents initial conclusions regarding causes of pre-bleed and identifies similarities between preparation for larp and method acting. It concludes that intense emotional role-play without a means of releasing stress can be traumatic[2]By traumatic, we mean causing emotional responses that exceed the player’s ability to cope. for players.

This is a condensed version of the 2015 article published in Larp Realia.

Introduction

In the run up to CoW5, players were invited to develop their characters online by building character relations, shared memories and plot for the game. Two months before the start of the game, these players started to notice bleed. Some had already begun role-playing their characters, but others had done little more than form tentative relations and writing backstory. This paper documents instances of what we called pre-bleed[3]As referenced by the Facebook hashtag #prebleedistotallyathing. and considers to what extent intense emotional role-play without a means of releasing stress can be traumatic for players.

We argue that the continuous connection between a player and a character they have yet to play can cause a particular form of bleed. The juxtaposition of connection and distance is interesting. Much like Todorov’s[4]Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Cornell University Press), 1975. concept of hesitation where, at “the frontier between the uncanny and the marvellous,” a reader asks herself the question “can this be real?”, here the player asks “is this the character or is it me?”

Most important though is the word remember. In the pre-game before CoW5, players were not only pretending to remember, they were creating memories in connection with other players in real time. And yet, typing a story is not the same as playing it out. The pre-bleed experience is closer to what a writer feels when they see a character on the page come to life. It is powerful because of the distance between the player and the character they are creating because they are not playing it yet.

College of Wizardry

“Imagine our world, just as it is today. Except that magic is real.”
College of Wizardry Design Document[5]Claus Raasted, Charles Bo Nielsen, Dracan Dembinski, College of Wizardry Design Document, 2014. http://www.rollespilsfabrikken.dk/cow/dd/designdocument.pdf, ref. December 19th 2015.

CoW is structured as a sandbox game. There are a lot of plotlines and potential for play but these are all opt-in rather than opt-out. The focus of the game is on immersion and character drama. Players are encouraged to create their own stories. They have access to the NPC team whom they can ask to help with scenes. This approach can make for a very intense game experience.

Characters

CoW5 had pre-written characters. Some aspects of the characters were fixed (year, path, house). Players were told they could change any other part of their character.

This freedom was key because it effectively put character creation in the hands of the players. Very few pre-written character relations were provided. Players were encouraged to connect to other players and create shared memories and backgrounds together.

During the time leading up to CoW5, we (the authors of this paper) began experiencing emotional spillover from our characters, and we were not the only ones.

Interviews

After the game we interviewed eight players including ourselves. Six of these had experienced pre-bleed, two had not. Out of the players who did not experience pre-bleed, one had spent several hours on Czochabook but had done no other preparations, the other started preparing for the larp later. The ones who reported pre-bleed all spent over 40 hours preparing for the larp.

We have anonymised the interviewees, giving their reported gender, age and larp experience. In some instances we have removed character names in order to preserve this anonymity.

Microphone (photo, public domain)

We have used samples from the interviews throughout this paper to illustrate a number of points; we have tried to select single examples rather than repeating similar statements from interviewees.

Our own, autoethnographic observations are indented and begin with the author’s name.

The process of character creation

The players used a Facebook group set up by the organisers to build relationships. Players could give a brief description of their character and what sorts of relations they were looking for.

BRIND: Thomas was the youngest of seven dysfunctional siblings. He was a young man with no moral compass from a highly privileged background. One of the first things I wanted for him was one or more ex-partners to represent his failure to form any kind of meaningful relationship.

Ksenia and Thomas’ original relationship was as a couple who had recently split up. Somewhere along the line we decided they still had feelings for one another and this formed the basis of much of the larp for me.

SVANEVIK: Ksenia started as a pretty rough concept. A Russian fighter from an old family with no money or inherited status, someone whose merits were based on their fists rather than their blood or bank account. As we prepared for the game, a lot of her identity ended up being shaped by her relationship with Simon’s character. I think this was because we spent time describing the same scenes from different perspectives. In these shared documents, Simon and I figured out who our characters were together.

For example, here is the same scene from different character viewpoints[6]The pieces were written in separate documents. The scene has been edited together for this article. Different viewpoint shown in italics.:

“Thomas was talking to one of the society girls. They went on and on about things that didn’t matter; something to do with a favour owed. Favours are important; you pay your debts, you repay your gifts. That is the way of things. She wanted him to let her friend off? Ain’t gonna happen.

Thomas was whispering with some girl at the back. Their conversation seeped into her ears, distracting her from the teacher’s long-winded rant about the soul of magic.

The words didn’t make much sense to her, but Ksenia didn’t have time for distractions. She marched over to their desks and slammed her book down.

“Shut your fuck mouth!” she exclaimed, calmly.

It was one of the angry ones. Russian? Eastern European? Whatever. Grey eyes, vodka, barely suppressed rage. Thomas raised an eyebrow and put one finger on his lips as if to say ‘shhh.’”

BRIND: I am not a pen and paper role-player. I steer clear of online role-playing and downtimes[7]UK LRP systems often provide a formal process for characters to take actions between events.,  and am intrinsically uncomfortable with larp over instant messenger. I need the feedback of real world interactions to be able to feel my character. My pre-game preparation was almost exclusively limited to the creation of shared documents. I made some posts on Czochabook, but these were more like blog updates. I was writing fiction in the past tense, rather than role-playing in the here and now.

Between August 5th and November 17th 2015 we co-wrote around 20,000 words of fiction which covered how the characters first interacted, their romance, and their breakup. We also described many of the events that took place after this traumatic event.

SVANEVIK: My approach to the Ksenia and Thomas story was the same one I have used for romantic relations in other larps; imagine the powerful moments and shared memories that will make the characters and their interactions feel real. This took a couple of weeks of emails, chats and a few shared documents. Once that was done, Simon wanted to keep building the relation continuously towards the larp. I think that continuous connection between the characters and the players is one of the key reasons for the emotional spillover effect I had between my character’s feelings and my own.

Setting some narrative rules

Pre-game, we decided that we would not let the characters speak to each other between the moment of their breakup and the start of the larp. This decision had a significant impact on our pre-bleed experience.

SVANEVIK: We did not want the plot to finish before the game. The result was a surprisingly powerful dramatic and emotional tension where my character so desperately wanted to see Simon’s that I felt guilty for keeping him from her.

Instead we wrote scenes happening to the characters at the same time in different places. This shaped the characters in relation to each other. Where are you now? What are you doing? How are you feeling?

“Ksenia stood, watching the world burn, knowing there was only one thing she should be doing and only one person in the world she wanted to be next to.”

“Finn had gone, and Thomas sat alone in front of his teacher’s tomb, and listened to the wind howl around the tower like a wolf in a storm.”

BRIND: Reading the two stories side-by-side surfaced the tragic romance of the two characters. Despite their differences their emotional responses were almost the same.

As a writer of long form fiction I often fall in love with my characters. The surprise, for me at least, was that Ksenia and Martine started to conflate in my mind. I was feeling Thomas’ love for Ksenia, but this was projected onto Martine.

Blood (photo, public domain)

Pre-Game Experiences

Waern states “the bleed concept thus capitalizes on the (table-top and role-playing) design ideal of a fictional character in a fictional context, as this creates an alibi – safe zone – for exploring emotionally complex or difficult subjects.”[8]Annika Waern, “I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!’ Bleed in the context of a computer game”, in Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection, ed. Jessica Enevold and Esther MacCallum-Stewart (McFarland & Company, 2011). We were able to apply this to a romance plot; here the player and the character became confused, but before play had begun. This was pre-bleed in its most intense form.

SVANEVIK: As we got closer to the game, I found myself contacting Simon more and more to ask how Thomas was, where he was, if he was OK. Somehow, letting me know how he was doing soothed some of the tension I was feeling from my character, despite the fact that she would not be allowed to know the answers I got from Simon.

We were not alone in creating this type of shared continuous build leading up to this larp. A relatively large group of participants for the game played out their character’s life from the moment the online forum opened till the larp started. Several of the players interviewed reported moments when the pre-bleed became too much.

“I felt the hurt that [my character] felt. I just felt it even though I knew it was coming. When it was actual reality, it became crushing.” (Cis male, 23, experienced larper)

When co-writing fiction, each writer only controls their part of the narrative. The act of creating a story together adds tension and excitement. Waiting for the response of someone else can be a cause for pre-bleed. Several players felt the need to take breaks from the pre-game; this was a clear indicator that the emotional stress was intense.

BRIND: The most intensity of pre-bleed I had came through the co-writing of fiction rather than role-playing the character. There is a distance between writer and character and that is where the bleed comes from.

SVANEVIK: Most of the pre-game felt distinctly different from larping to me. The divide between player and character was much more pronounced when role-playing or writing before the larp. There was always a part of me that guided the interactions and managed the dramatic tension of each scene. As time progressed and the word count mounted, however, I started feeling like this character lived inside my head. I was constantly aware of how she was feeling.

“Well, I certainly found myself, like, writing things that I wouldn’t, well I, like getting, feeling like I got input from my character when I was writing things on Facebook and on Czochabook […] so it influenced my actions.” (Cis male, 18, experienced role-player)

Foucault states that “Writing unfolds like a game that inevitably moves beyond its own rules and finally leaves them behind.”[9]Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews (Cornell University Press, 1977). When we are writing fiction, we may not be playing characters but we are – by necessity of creating a cogent and meaningful fiction – getting right inside their head. The semantic position may be different, but the outcome is the same. But is it role-playing?

“I would say the Google Docs were not role-playing, at least not for me because most of the time I had a parallel Facebook chat with the other people on it and we talked about how the scene could go on at some points or reflected on what we had just written – even if it was just ‘oh my God, oh my God what is happening now,’ – but there was still some distance between what is happening and me.” (Cis female, 29, experienced role-player.)

Notebook (photo, public domain)

Harviainen writes that it is not until “the moment when a game begins, [that] the play-space becomes a temporary pseudo-autonomous reality that is isolated by three factors: authority, language and the larp sign-interpretation state”.[10]J. Tuomas Harviainen, “Information, Immersion, Identity: The Interplay of Multiple Selves During Live-Action Role-Play”, Journal of Interactive Drama 1 (2006), 2. Before that moment, still in the pre-game, information flows differently; characters are in a different state, not in costume, not in person, not fully immersed in the ritual space of the game. The rules of the pre-game are different – it is possible to talk in-game and off-game at once, the scenes are played out remotely, not in person nor in real time.

In the game, most players navigated between a narrativist approach and immersion, weighing whether something is better for the story against how it fits with the character’s state of mind and traits. We would argue that the pre-game was more narrativist than the larp event precisely because of the in-game/off-game simultaneous talk. It allowed for the time to craft the reactions right, and may have led to different or perhaps even truer character interpretations.

“We met, planned the scene, keynotes and then wrote it out together. This meant that I ‘played my character’ better than I managed at the larp.” (Cis male, 23, experienced larper.)
“I wasn’t really role-playing. I was me. [My character] was talking through me.” (Cis female, 29, experienced larper.)

Whether it was pre-play or play, for those players who reported bleed prior to the larp the intensity of the experience was striking.

“I was chatting to another player and she shared part of a co-authored scene between her character and the character playing my brother. I was overcome with a feeling of betrayal and jealousy when I saw what he had told her. I tried to step back from the fiction, and I could, but the feeling persisted.” (Cis female, 31, experienced larper)

Lieberoth talks about immersion as “an aspect of decoupling ability, where players try to ignore the scope-syntactical tags placed on the remembered present, that tell us ‘this isn’t real!’”[11]Andreas Lieberoth, “With Role-Playing in Mind. A Cognitive Account of Decoupled Reality, Identity and Experience”, in Role, Play, Art, ed. Thorbiörn Fritzon and Tobias Wrigstad (Föreningen Knutpunkt, 2006). This is interesting; it is hard to immerse while sitting in front of a computer keyboard unless you are in a diegesis that involves a character who is creating a character. To what extent can an immersionist experience any kind of bleed pre-game?

The answer to that question lies in the distance between player and character, and in the act of creating something together. The player may be sitting behind their screen, but they are not alone. They are sharing the experience of telling stories with others. Although it is not larping, it is a shared experience between players which elicits an emotional response, and that emotional response makes the memory feel real and vice versa.[12]Hamann states “that emotional stimuli engage specific cognitive and neural mechanisms that enhance explicit memory. Stephen Hamann, “Cognitive and neural mechanisms of emotional memory”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (2001), 9.

Before the larp Dragonbane,[13]Dragonbane was a large international larp project. The game itself took place from July 27th to August 4th, 2006 in Sweden. Timo Multamäki, et al., Dragonbane (Älvdalen, Sweden: 2006). the players spent a day workshopping their characters together through what they called if-games. We understand the term if-game to mean when players have an opportunity to play their way into their characters and develop common memories for them. This is important because as we can learn from 19th and 20th century drama theory, memory is very powerful.

Affective Memory

One of the pervasive myths about the early incarnations of Stanislavsky’s affective memory was that memories needed to derive from the actor’s real life experiences. “He never advances the actor’s personal memories as the sole source of emotions. Beyond the actor’s lived experience, Stanislavsky asserts the validity of whetting the emotion memory through empathy with the character’s situation, observation of other’s experiences, imagination, and immersion in the actual onstage experience.”[14]Cheryl McFarren, Acknowledging Trauma/Rethinking Affective Memory: Background, Method, and Challenge for Contemporary Actor Training (University of Colorado, 2003), 111.

Lee Strasberg’s development of Stanislavsky’s work, which formed the basis for the American Method, invited the actor to explore the physical space of a memory. To put themselves into the time and place they wanted to (re)experience and to consider what they could see, hear, smell, taste, and feel, their balance and their relationship to the world around them.

BRIND: This is very close to my approach to the writing of fiction; for example a lot of scenes in the shared Google Docs started or ended with sensory descriptions.

“If he closed my eyes he could remember the taste of blood and the sensation of swallowing one of his own teeth, of the loving embrace of oblivion as the cold ground came up to meet him; Avalon taught him his first lesson; he learned it the hard way.”

Several players spent considerable time describing body language and physical reactions in their co-written scenes. We suggest this was an attempt to mitigate the lack of physical cues that they use to communicate during a larp, but it had the added effect of the author writing themselves into the time and space of the memory they were creating.

Using affective memory and intense pre-larp preparations to create characters that draw on our own memories and traits can be particularly powerful.

SVANEVIK: About six weeks before the larp, I noticed that I was looking for my ex-fiancée everywhere. I realized that a lot of the pain I was pouring into my character came from that breakup. I borrowed from my past experiences to create a more believable emotional response. I was reframing and rethinking my own heartache.

Affective memory, in any form, has risks. Even Stanislavsky recognised this when his student, Michael Chekhov, had a nervous breakdown. This led to Stanislavsky “focussing on the actor’s imagination rather than personal memory”[15]Fintan Walsh, Theatre & Therapy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). as a means to evoke an emotional response.

“The bleed. It’s all about running after someone to whose standards I cannot live up to. About not being loved back. Someone who treats my character/me with a weird mixture of kindness and refusal. Always at risk that there is some girl else who can offer what I cannot. That is the essence of a long relationship I had in my early twenties. I don’t know why this found its way into CoW.” (Female, 29, experienced larper)

Seton coins the term post-dramatic stress, he admits this is a deliberate provocation but believes the risks associated with some of the techniques of method acting are “a significant area of neglect and culpability for stakeholders in Western performance contexts.” Most telling is his belief that “the enactment and witnessing of trauma in the context of rehearsal and subsequent performance can also leave its imprint on the actors’ lives, even if they had never experienced the trauma prior to performing the role.”[16]Mark Cariston Seton, “‘Post-Dramatic’ Stress: Negotiating Vulnerability for Performance”, in Proceedings of the 2006 Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (2006). Emphasis added.

Burgoyne has similar concerns, “it occurred to me that my theatre training not only had not prepared me to deal with the psychological fallout my actors were experiencing, but that no one had seriously warned me that I might encounter such a phenomenon.”[17]Suzanne Burgoyne, “A Crucible for Actors: Questions of Directorial Ethics”, Theatre Topics 1 (1991), 1.

“The intensity of all the scenes in the game also stick with me more than it would if I hadn’t been that much into character. Yeah, so I keep like being overwhelmed by memories that feel so real, because they are real, right?” (Cis female, 31, experienced larper)

For larpers playing with bleed we would argue that they are operating at the edges of aesthetic distance; “When an individual can return to a troubling, unresolved experience without either becoming overwhelmed by it (too little distance) or disconnecting from it (too much distance), s/he achieves aesthetic distance in the cathartic, intrapsychic sense of the concept.”[18]Cheryl McFarren (2003), 206.

“[The] first meeting between [our characters] was really intense. I had this difference between my feelings and [my character]’s. Like you’re writing a book and you’re experiencing first hand what’s happening and it’s exciting but you’re not the character you’re reading about.” (Cis female, 29, new larper)

Some forms of dramatic and narrative stress exist because there is no opportunity for catharsis, no opportunity for release. As we described above we had deliberately prevented our characters from talking. This simple in-game action would have started the resolution that allowed the characters to progress, but this could not happen until the larp started. We were not alone.

“I did not want to carry these feeling around day to day and that, especially in the context of a relationship that is known to be doomed but that cannot be played through until play officially starts, there was a very uncomfortable frozen effect of being stuck in the plummeting moment of dawning horror/sense of rejection/denial without the possibility of processing or resolving this moment through play. In fact of actively rejecting the processing of this moment in order to preserve it for live play-through.” (Cis female, 36, new larper)

We agree with Bowman: “if-game thinking can become detrimental when players have difficulty letting go of character and story motivations.”[19]Sarah Lynne Bowman, “Social Conflict in Role-Playing Communities: An Exploratory Qualitative Study”, International Journal of Role-Playing 4 (2013). Combined with intense bleed and an inability to resolve the emotion through play, this difficulty becomes traumatic. Glenn[20]Marti Glenn, “Trauma, Attachment, And Stress Disorders: Developmental Issues”, Healingresources.info (2015). http://www.healingresources.info/trauma_attachment_stress_disorders.htm, ref December 19th 2015. defines “traumatization” as “stress frozen in place – locked into a pattern of neurological distress that doesn’t go away by returning to a state of equilibrium.”[21]Tzvetan Todorov and Arnold Weinstein, “Structural Analysis of Narrative”, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 3 (1969), 1: “The minimal complete plot can be seen as the shift from one equilibrium to another. This term “equilibrium,” which I am borrowing from genetic psychology, means the existence of a stable but not static relation between the members of a society; it is a social law, a rule of the game, a particular system of exchange. The two moments of equilibrium, similar and different, are separated by a period of imbalance, which is composed of a process of degeneration and a process of improvement.” Thus without the ability to relieve the stress, there was no way to return to that point of balance. We believe there is a clear parallel here between the experience of some larpers’ pre-play and trauma.

Conclusions

There appears to be some correlation between the methods used by players during the pre-game and some affective memory techniques. We did not investigate whether those players explored real (traumatic) memories or simply used their imagination to get close to their characters,[22]We would suggest that such a study if it took place, should consider the emotional safety of the participants as a priority. but overall the cases of bleed were higher than we would have expected and – in the reported cases – more intense. We identified that in some cases the players did not consider they were role-playing during this period.

The pre-game at CoW5 was powerful and important to create emotional connections and shared memories between characters and between players and their characters. It lessened the time players spent getting into character once the larp started and in several cases led to deeper immersion.

The pre-game is not a larp, however. The creation of shared memories causes a distinct form of bleed that is different because of the distance between the player and their character. In the pre-game, the players are telling stories rather than living them.

For some of the pre-game players, CoW5 became the finale to a long game where most of the story had already played out. The last chapter in a novel, the last act of a play. For the ones who managed to – deliberately or unconsciously – keep key plot strands from resolving before the game, however, the larp became an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions.

If we create shared memories and stressful situations, prior to the opening of the magic circle, our options appear to be to disconnect entirely from the character, or to feel emotions over which we have little control. CoW is a powerful game. It has been very intense before, during and after. We would argue that we have some tools and techniques to make the space emotionally safer, but to what extent are we re-discovering things that the theatre already knows?

This is not the last CoW larp or the last larp with a dedicated player base that will have an intense pre-game. We suggest that larp should look to the theatre to find effective tools for managing the bleed and/or pre-bleed that will occur when players create powerful memories together. The rush of the pre-game and the intensity it brings to a larp is amazing and powerful, and intense experiences are part of the reason we play.

Žižek, when talking about the relationship between (video) games and reality, states “Because I think it’s only a game, it’s only a persona, a self-image I adopt in virtual space, I can be there much more truthful. I can enact there an identity which is much closer to my true self.”[23]Slavoj Žižek, Sophie Fiennes, Brian Eno, and Tony Myers, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, (P Guide, 2006). But he is wrong. It is not only a game, it is never only a game; as larpers we should remember that.

Interviewer: Did you enjoy the pre-bleed?

Cis male, 45, experienced larper: Yeah. Fuck yeah. I’m not sorry, I’d do it again.

Cover photo: A Death Eater’s mask with a dagger through it (photo, John-Paul Bichard).

 

References   [ + ]

1. Charles Bo Nielsen, Dracan Dembinski, and Claus Raasted, et al., College of Wizardry 5 (Poland: Liveform and Rollespilsfabrikken, 2014).
2. By traumatic, we mean causing emotional responses that exceed the player’s ability to cope.
3. As referenced by the Facebook hashtag #prebleedistotallyathing.
4. Tzvetan Todorov, The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre (Cornell University Press), 1975.
5. Claus Raasted, Charles Bo Nielsen, Dracan Dembinski, College of Wizardry Design Document, 2014. http://www.rollespilsfabrikken.dk/cow/dd/designdocument.pdf, ref. December 19th 2015.
6. The pieces were written in separate documents. The scene has been edited together for this article. Different viewpoint shown in italics.
7. UK LRP systems often provide a formal process for characters to take actions between events.
8. Annika Waern, “I’m in love with someone that doesn’t exist!’ Bleed in the context of a computer game”, in Game Love: Essays on Play and Affection, ed. Jessica Enevold and Esther MacCallum-Stewart (McFarland & Company, 2011).
9. Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews (Cornell University Press, 1977).
10. J. Tuomas Harviainen, “Information, Immersion, Identity: The Interplay of Multiple Selves During Live-Action Role-Play”, Journal of Interactive Drama 1 (2006), 2.
11. Andreas Lieberoth, “With Role-Playing in Mind. A Cognitive Account of Decoupled Reality, Identity and Experience”, in Role, Play, Art, ed. Thorbiörn Fritzon and Tobias Wrigstad (Föreningen Knutpunkt, 2006).
12. Hamann states “that emotional stimuli engage specific cognitive and neural mechanisms that enhance explicit memory. Stephen Hamann, “Cognitive and neural mechanisms of emotional memory”, Trends in Cognitive Sciences 5 (2001), 9.
13. Dragonbane was a large international larp project. The game itself took place from July 27th to August 4th, 2006 in Sweden. Timo Multamäki, et al., Dragonbane (Älvdalen, Sweden: 2006).
14. Cheryl McFarren, Acknowledging Trauma/Rethinking Affective Memory: Background, Method, and Challenge for Contemporary Actor Training (University of Colorado, 2003), 111.
15. Fintan Walsh, Theatre & Therapy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
16. Mark Cariston Seton, “‘Post-Dramatic’ Stress: Negotiating Vulnerability for Performance”, in Proceedings of the 2006 Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (2006). Emphasis added.
17. Suzanne Burgoyne, “A Crucible for Actors: Questions of Directorial Ethics”, Theatre Topics 1 (1991), 1.
18. Cheryl McFarren (2003), 206.
19. Sarah Lynne Bowman, “Social Conflict in Role-Playing Communities: An Exploratory Qualitative Study”, International Journal of Role-Playing 4 (2013).
20. Marti Glenn, “Trauma, Attachment, And Stress Disorders: Developmental Issues”, Healingresources.info (2015). http://www.healingresources.info/trauma_attachment_stress_disorders.htm, ref December 19th 2015.
21. Tzvetan Todorov and Arnold Weinstein, “Structural Analysis of Narrative”, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction 3 (1969), 1: “The minimal complete plot can be seen as the shift from one equilibrium to another. This term “equilibrium,” which I am borrowing from genetic psychology, means the existence of a stable but not static relation between the members of a society; it is a social law, a rule of the game, a particular system of exchange. The two moments of equilibrium, similar and different, are separated by a period of imbalance, which is composed of a process of degeneration and a process of improvement.”
22. We would suggest that such a study if it took place, should consider the emotional safety of the participants as a priority.
23. Slavoj Žižek, Sophie Fiennes, Brian Eno, and Tony Myers, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, (P Guide, 2006).

Authors

Martine Svanevik
Martine Svanevik is a fiction, larp, and games writer. Her work has featured in both AAA games and indie productions, short story anthologies, Knutebooks, and other academic publications. She’s been playing and making larps since 1999. She claims to have been a good Marxist once. The only proof of this is a little known method for creating larps collectively, where each creates according to their ability and plays according to their needs. She lives in Oslo, Norway, owns her own house, a car, and has recently pushed out a baby; despite this she remains a non-conformist and a rebel.
Simon Brind
Simon Brind (b.1970) is a writer, game designer, and PhD student. He is researching Combat Narratology: Strategies for the resolution of narrative crisis in participatory fiction.
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