So on Friday the 29th we ran the second show. I didn’t have time to make a lot of significant changes. The relevant changes were that I was more present as the Game Master, helped by the fact that I had two people on camera, so I didn’t have to film most of the time. I could be more actively observing and giving players cards, feedback and missions they could do, so i could direct and react a lot better. The Leiders now also had the responsibility to explain the time structure and what you could do in the morning, midday and night. I also announced the time changes a lot more clearly. The Leiders also reiterated what time of day it was, and what the audience should be doing. That really worked. The show as a whole was a lot less chaotic than Thursday’s.
Feedback and Conclusions:
-Again, there was a mix of playstyles. Some played very much as their character, some not at all, but pretty much everyone a mixture to some degree.
-Amazingly, to prove my point of every interactive theatre show being completely different, because each audience is different:
One of the audience members, who played the Schipper of the Eilanders, quickly decided to play very much as herself. She took leadership, and constantly tried to co-operate in an excruciatingly friendly way with the Vastelanders!
Someone remarked that this is the bane of Dutch culture. Polderen! Even if we’re playing a game or roleplaying a situation of conflict, eventually it’s going to turn into that very Dutch moment of “Let’s all sit down and talk about it, shall we?”
I’m curious to see what Vloedelingen will cause in a different country!
It was still very exciting to see that someone took up leadership, she was a great leader, just out of the blue. Nothing was directed to make that happen! The result was, however, that other Eilanders mistrusted her intentions, and I could strengthen that internal conflict by directing with cards and suggestions. Even the Schipper’s own mother turned against her “Who made YOU Burgemeester?”
Everyone agreed that the world needs someone like the Schipper!
-The relations between characters should be clearer. Sure, he’s your brother, but do you like each other or have a rivalry?
-I had great feedback on the scenario where some Vastelanders have to be left behind. People really thought it worked immensely. It was a goal, a mission and something to drive them to take action. However, once it emerged that the Vastelanders were all gone, it was a bit directionless.
-One audience member was very upset when he heard the Vastelanders who stayed behind had gone!
-That same audience member later stole a bottle of alcohol. He was the Visser, and decided drunkenly to go fishing. Well, I had him fall off the boat, and get a pretty bad cold because of that. He was lying, groaning, on the pier for an entire day. He really enjoyed that little personal storyline. I should do more with that, it was very enjoyable directing that bit! “It gives some colour to the story”
-Then again, the rivalry between the Jonge Visser who had a father in jail on the Vasteland, and the Advocaat (Lawyer), was great, but there wasn’t enough time and space to develop that storyline much further.
-The orange vests worked brilliantly. the simple psychological trick of giving people a uniform is hilariously mischievious.
-Having one Eilander who has a bond with the Vastelanders would work well. I have one character: The Veerman, but I didn’t get a chance to try him out.
-I should make rules for the use of physical violence. The Militair wanted to use violence if he got the chance, but he wasn’t sure if it was allowed and if so, how. I could use LARP techniques for that possibility. Because yes, people CAN die!
Favourite moments of the audience:
-When cards were given by the Game Master. They gave a mission, clarity, a focus to play towards, and were seen as turning points for individuals.
-For the vuurtorenwachter, when she asked the Vastelanders what they were coming here for. The answer was “We’re bringing civilisation!”. This made her very pissed off and from that point she hated them!
-When the Jonge Visser got really, really angry (from a personal level, not even from her character!) at something the Vastelanders tried to do.
-For the Advocaat, when he stole the Diesel. It felt like the only possible solution to fulfilling the Vastelanders’ mission.
What happened at the end? Interestingly, when the storm came, everyone, Vastelanders and Eilanders, banded together to fish the last bit of food they could get, while the rest gathered every single prop and piece of furniture around the Café to reinforce it! The storm started, and everyone hurried to the Café, where they huddled together, passing around a bottle of alcohol, reflecting on their sudden co-operation, telling stories, and singing sea shanties!
This in contrast with Thursday, when the Vastelanders and the Schipper of the Eilanders huddled in the Vuurtoren, thinking it would be the most secure. Meanwhile, the Eilanders took shelter in the Winkel, guarding the remaining food closely, and chiding the Schipper to come join them!
-The audience were very interested to hear what happened in the other show on Thursday, and were a bit surprised to hear that it didn’t end with co-operation!
What the audience thought were the underlying themes:
-What individuals and groups which are starkly contrasting in culture, in a crisis/survival situation. It might work well at schools. Instantly reminded of Forum Theatre.
-Discrimination, crisis and compassion. What’s the point when you have to throw all your prejudices and hate to the side in order to survive? When there’s no food left? When the storm comes? When the wind rips the roof off your house?
-The evolution of group dynamics.
-And again, like on Thursday, the idea that this show holds a mirror in front of every individual audience member, showing them what they would do in such a situation.
I only wished I had facilitated the post-show discussion a bit better. Filming with a camera with bad sound quality, in a room with annoying house music in the background, wasn’t such a good idea!
Other than that? Brilliant. Damn brilliant. I can’t wait to develop this further and bring Vloedelingen to many more stages.
Now it’s on to my graduation presentation!