Introduction to Southern Way / New Italian Larp
In recent years Larp has gained strength and popularity in Italy, and has taken new and more conscious forms. This Manifesto suggests a path for this process, and continues by defining Larp as a strong, actively engaged way of telling stories. Powerful stories that leave their mark. Stories that are hatchets waiting to be dug up.
The Nordic style was fundamentally important in the development of the Larp. We have established parallel paths, yet our origins, both geographic and cultural, distinguish us. A Dionysian spirit has always animated us. Our travelling companions are: madness, fire, and passion; the corporeal, the non-functional and non-regulated, the invasiveness, the politically incorrect. We have no superiority to show off, that is simply the way we are. And thus we want to encounter the world.
This manifesto concerns Larp and how to play, it intercepts trends and evolutions. It is the result of many years of work and creativity: it is our proposal to the Larp scene. Rather than a closed story, a party or an ideology, it is a platform, a developing consciousness. It is freely derived from the New Italian Epic Manifesto because we identify ourselves in some of its key orientations and believe that Larps are a form of art in all effects. It’s not about theory, it’s about praxis, program, and vision. Anyone who shares its principles, anyone who wishes to organise Larps according to this Manifesto is welcome, we will be fellow travellers. It is time to write new shared, conscious and profound narratives.
1) Play Unsafely
Reality is potentially dangerous, that’s why we spend our lives developing routines and building fortresses, habits, univocal mindsets. Larps can test these self-imposed boundaries, can carry out an attack on our comfort zones. They represent acts of negotiation because they address and question our shortcomings; they besiege our strongholds. We don’t play to seek confirmations but to come out in the open. Experience the abyss, the diversity. Stand on the edge. Be what we are (not).
2) In Playing We Trust
We firmly believe that there should be an unbiased and mutual trust between organisers and players. We ask players to rely completely on the organisers’ care without prejudice or diffidence, even when their actions require secrecy or mystery. We don’t look for contracts to sign but for ever evolving relationships. There’s only one shared interest: the success of the game, nothing else.
3) No Customers Allowed
Larp is not cinema, neither is it theatre. It is not a show you can watch sitting comfortably on your chair. No one will entertain you, there’s no passive audience, only co-authors. Don’t look for the drive outside of you, don’t wait for something to happen, be the very stone which starts the avalanche. The logic “I pay so I demand” has no place here; here we’re all equal partners, no one’s a client. The more you give to the game, the more the game will give back to you. Larp isn’t and mustn’t be a gala dinner.
4) Don’t Keep Cool and Dry
We want to create ‘unidentified playing objects’, put the accent on the hybridisation and experimentation of genres and narrative techniques. Larp is an expanding galaxy. Not only do we believe that Larp can tackle any subject, but we also believe it can do so with the most diverse means. We want to hybridise with literature, music, theatre, visual arts and the new media. We want to harness the allegorical power of narratives, without obligations and without honouring any orthodoxy.
5) Just Play
Playing doesn’t mean winning, playing doesn’t mean losing. Playing means playing. As children we know well the implication of this word but in a world where everything revolves around productivity it is difficult to keep the memory alive. We have nothing to produce, nothing to prove, no one to please or to account for. We only want to play.
6) Playing as Art
Larp is a form of art. It has to do with existence and is ontologically connected with the human race. Larp is the Apollonian and Dionysian, is a mask and vertigo, heterotopia, situated utopia. It’s here and now, an unmediated elsewhere. Larping puts everyone in front of their emotions, in front of the act of creation, in front of the experience of the self and of the Other. We believe in Larp as a vanguard, as an antagonist form of experiences, as a spontaneous and collective artistic expression. This doesn’t mean that all Larps are art.
As Organiser I commit myself to:
A -Respecting the ethics of narration
Telling stories is a powerful act which requires great responsibility. We know the value of stories and the necessary effort to live them. We know many have come before us and others will follow, we consciously want to contribute to the undertaking. We are ethically committed not to abuse the trust players put in us and not to use narration dishonestly.
B -Preserving the political awareness of playing
It is the duty of those who organise the game to be conscious of the power in decision making, and to interact with people profoundly. To be aware that choosing to play in our society has a precise political value. Playing can be an antagonistic act. It’s about choosing a creative gesture that will impact the things that surround us.
Larp is a voluntary and collective act, alternative to the industry of mass-entertainment. The player is a vibrant and co-acting individual, energy that wants to play a part in the project.
C – Choosing to tell stories with a rich allegorical value
It is the duty of those who organise the game to select and design stories that have rich and deep implications. The meaning of Larp is found in the reciprocal relationship between form and content, and these aspects need to be constantly renewed. Stories have a structural value, they are what makes us human. Choosing the right stories means orientating towards the present, pointing one’s weapons at a target, choosing a battlefield. The need to narrate generates the Larp, not the other way round.