Let’s make mistakes together (a pre-larp pep talk)

This is larp. It’s improvised. I’ll make mistakes. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll forget parts of the back story. You’ll speak in a voice that’s not appropriate for your character. You’ll mispronounce words that your character knows perfectly. You’ll break a cultural taboo inadvertently. You’ll forget the name of your childhood friend.

And that’s OK. Because you know what’s the alternative to making mistakes? Shutting up. Standing still. Not improvising. Not roleplaying.

In fact: it’s not just OK, it’s excellent. We ignore the mistakes of others. We forgive them. We forget them. When we think back on the larp, it’s not the mistakes we remember. And some mistakes are hidden gifts, that take roleplay to new and interesting places.

Roleplaying, improvising, requires us to make mistakes. A barrage of mistakes. That’s how we learn. That’s when things happen. That’s how we become so comfortable as our characters that things just flow, and the magic begins seeping in. By daring to make mistakes you give your character a chance to speak through you. Clumsily at first. Fluently later.

Give your character a chance. A chance to relax. A chance to be clumsy. A chance to learn.

Let us make many mistakes together, so that we may have a great larp!

(This is a version of a talk I gave before KoiKoi (2014), written from memory, and rewritten to be more generic. It was re-used by the organizers of the 2015 run of Just A Little Loving. Feel free to quote, steal, paraphrase, or do whatever you want with the text. No attribution needed.)

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