A Flashback is a methatechnique widely used both in larps and larp workshops. I do not claim ownership over it, but since I was unable to find a full description I have decided to write my own.
Flashbacks had mainly an “oral transmission” and include many variants. Also, the one here described has been adapted for my own use. Therefore this article will not match all existing uses for this technique.
A flashback is a co-creative methatechnique in which participants move between different moment of their characters’ relation with the help of a director.
Words or gestures are used for cut, action and end.
Director: 6 months from now, you have lend him money already three times and non of it was given back.
Participants and director keep moving back and forth in time.
When the director feels that that no more can be taken out of a flashback the director makes a “the end” cut.
Flashbacks have to be fluid and depend on the co-creation between participants, therefore the director should avoid the excessive use of power.
Flashbacks need to be fast, active and full of emotions. They should not be long. Better to cut too early than too late.
It is advisable that all directors use the same keywords in a larp to avoid confusion.
A great way to finish a flashback is with a cliffhanger, before an important decision or discovery, to let the participants discuss its result afterwards.
Flashbacks tend to take inexpected ways, and participants can feel unhappy with its result, therefore it is advisable to allow participants to fix unsatisfactory endings that may arisen (this should be a last resort, not a common action) or flashbacks to have contradictory results.
Flashbacks can be quite interesting to see, also they can provide excellent ideas to other participants, and the diffusion of its conclusions can be a great boost for a larp. I recommend to allow a certain level of meta, with participants deciding if their characters were present or heard of the situations that took place.