From the dawn of our experimentation with larp, we as Brazilians have already come across something that made our culture stand on the impositions crystallized in a rulebook. If Laws of the Night, the first larp “manual” that arrived in Brazil, already provided the rule of “not touching”, we were faced with a stir. And the way, already in the beginnings of the larp practiced in these lands, was to use the famous “Brazilian jeitinho”. For the Brazilian jeitinho, we say:
1. To Play Is to Touch
We are not US-Americans. This is important to highlight. Our cultures are different. Here we hug each other, kiss each other on the face (one, two or even three times!) when we meet someone, we take each other’s hands, we put our hand on someone’s shoulder when we want to say something important, we bump into each other in the crowded collective transports. Our “bubble” is much smaller. So it’s strange that we can not touch each other during the larps. The premise that this holds for security has never convinced us: when something goes wrong, it will occur with or without the touching. More than that, we touch things. We touch atabaque, but we also touch acoustic guitar and piano, we say “TOUCH YOURSELF” to someone who loses common sense. Touch, in Portuguese, refers also to, not by chance, to play. Against telepresence, we conjure up the existence of bodies in our larps under the auspices of Augusto Boal. We are Brazilians: we are, therefore we think. Therefore, for us, touch is not forbidden. The lack of consensus is.
2. Play to Add
At some point, we’ve played to lose. The point of this was to ensure that each of the players did not focus on the narrative of his character, somehow, winning. But still, we think that play to lose departs from the same individualistic, maybe utilitarian view of play to win. It does not, at first, concern the other’s game. Playing to add, on the other hand, is born of collaboration. It could not be different, because we are tributaries of Paulo Freire, who teaches us that “when education is not liberating, the dream of the oppressed is to be the oppressor”. We intend, from this, to propose a larp that leaves the dynamics of winner (oppressor) and loser (oppressed).
3. The Third River Shore
Neither Nordic larp nor Southern way: to take a manifesto written in Italy as a “Southern” manifesto is to ignore everything that happens at the South of the Earth’s Equator. Even if in divergent points, they share the same relief. From the same shore. Against an Eurocentric vision (some will say colonialist), we celebrate the poet Guimarães Rosa, and his third river shore. Children of dutiful parents and royal mothers, we refuse to stay on the first shore or reach the second shore. We change the soil safety by the river fluidity. We change “in the slowly quickness of the times”, at the same time that we affirm that “nobody is crazy. Or, all of them”. We do not align ourselves, though we have drunk from these springs, neither the Nordic larp nor the Southern way. The blockbuster larps, or the “chanchadas”, it’s not up to us.
4. Larp of Hunger
If Dogma 99 starts from an inspiration of the Dogma 95 Manifesto, transliterated to the larp, we feel it is our duty to evoke the Glauber Rocha’s Aesthetics of Hunger and Cinema Novo. A camera in the hand and an idea in the head? No. Also. Away from the costumes and exuberant settings, the larp of hunger sought, seeks and will seek reduction of all accessories, looking for the essence of larp. A minimalist larp? Perhaps. But more than that. A larp who understands that the 360 ° illusion can be created thinking in larps that pass in a bar, to be played in a bar. In a white room with lights directly in the eye, reproducing the high-tech of a spaceship. In a coffee bottle. On a cigarette. In the cachaça offered to an entity. In the use of the participants themselves as scenography. The larp not being seen by the lens of the cinema is to think that the violence of the larp lies precisely in its denial of the spectacle.
Tributaries of manguebit, we understand larp as an art form, a media and a language. But we also understand larp as an occupation. A shock against the heart of a culture at the edge of the heart attack. The protagonism inherent in larps is a response to the consumption of an increasingly pasteurized culture. So we look for the gaps, for the non-places. The blackbox is not something usably available here. In its place, bars, restaurants, unoccupied garages, parks, cultural centers, classrooms, squares, public libraries, collectively hired farms. Let these hearts re-irrigate blood for the public individual-space relationship.
6. For an Anthropophagous Larp
We have a diverse and decentralized scene in Brazil. And the lack of centralization (sometimes even dialogue) is what ensures diversity. It would not be an exaggeration to say that only participation unites us. From the Northeastern to the Southern kingdoms of the boffer larp, from the MilSim of Paraná, from the São Paulo commune of larp, from the larps of World of Darkness in several cities scattered throughout the country, from the larp practiced in events, from the larp as a cultural practice recognized by public policy, larp inside apartments – the only thing that is shared is the interest in participation. In devouring the contributions of the other. “I’m only interested in what’s not mine. Law of man. Law of the anthropophagist”, would say our almost centennial Anthropophagus Manifesto. To deny this would be to deny the Brazilian jeitinho. To deny our, in the words of Oswald de Andrade, “participant consciousness.”
A vow of debauchery?
For chastity is not up to us…
Tadeu Rodrigues, after several dialogues with Luiz Prado and Luiz Falcão
Year 464 of the Deglutition of Bishop Sardinha