Coffee – A character co-creation workshop

Coffee

A diegetic/extradiegetic workshop for character co-creation.

Participants move between 5 different kinds of symbolic spaces to help each other create or enrich their characters.
Conversations take place in and out of character and must follow the rules of each space.

 

This workshop has been designed for a larp that takes place in the early XX century but if required the “coffee” theme can be adapted to a more suitable setting.
It is recommended to have food and drink during the duration of the workshop.
It can be combined with other elements. E.g. The original larp used as complement a pile of received letters that carried generic personal details.
It is divided into 5 kinds of spaces:
  • Coffee for 1.
  • Coffee for 2.
  • Coffee for 3-4.
  • Between coffees.
  • Coffee for all.
The amount of participants taking part in one coffee has to match the number mentioned in the name (as exception, the Coffee for all does not require all participants to take part)
Participants can move between coffees at wish.
If the size of the larp requires so there can be several simultaneous Coffees for 2 and 3-4. Also the Coffee for all can be split into several. It is always advisable to have more than one Coffee for 1.
The whole workshop takes place both in and out of character at the participants requirement.
     Coffees
  • Coffee for 1
Requires of a chair (or place to sit), a table (or place to write), pen and paper.
Here participants write and reflect about the characters past, personality, future, etc. Both as participant and as its character.
Participants carry their notes with them as they leave.
To leave the coffee the participant needs to ask for the bill.
  • Coffee for 2
Requires two places to sit or stand up.

 

Here participants and characters talk to build the relation between them. Extradiegetically by discussing past, present, future, secrets, etc. Diegetically by playing the evolution of such relation.
When one asks for the bill both say goodbye and leave.
  • Coffee for 3-4

Requires four places to sit or stand up.

In here participants and characters can only talk about characters not present.

Topics can be either feelings towards that person, common knowledge or details invented during the “Coffee for 2”. The mood should be negative or positive, never neutral.
Under no circumstance can details regarding that person be invented.
Even false gossips require to be accepted previously during a “Coffee for 2”.
It is necessary to ask for the bill and say goodbye to leave. If there are less than three persons in the coffee all need to leave.
  • Between coffees
Requires a space visible to most of the coffees and if possible elevated.

It must include an object to call the attention of others (e.g. glass and cutlery, a small bell, etc)

The space is a stand for common knowledge. It represent the information traveling as time goes by.

Here one or more participants can speak up a fact regarding their characters that has become common knowledge. This needs to be brief and can be both out or in character.
If the information is a gossip the one speaking needs to inform that it is a “secret”
Information can be false.
It can include information about someone not present if this person previously gave permission for it.
The information will reach as many characters as the ones able to hear it.

It is not allowed to force all coffees to stop before speaking up.

To leave the speakers must propose a toast or ask for the bill.

  • Coffee for all

Requires a comfortable space where all participants can fit (in case of having several Coffees for all, participants should fit divided between them)

Here a participant defines the character’s role inside the group.

When a participant joins the coffee informs the others about the character. Then the group dynamic is discussed. Finally those group dynamics are played.
Participants can change their character’s role. Others can make suggestions but not impose.
As roles get clearer the outside character parts disappear and the coffee becomes more natural and intense.
Actions (e.g. fights, reconciliation, eternal friendships/hatred) that can contribute to the larp are welcome.
Any participant can leave the “Coffee for all” by asking for the bill. When this happens the rest is not forced to leave.

 

The workshop ends when all participants are present in the “Coffee for all” and all together ask for the bill.
If a participant is taking too long can be invited by others to the “Coffee for all”.

 

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