Relatos de Ultramar: En Costas Lejanas (Overseas Tales: In distant coasts) was set in Quesa (Valencia, Spain) during the weekend of 4-6th of september 2015. They wanted to treat the awesome time of pirates but in a realistical and historical way. Even the larp was in Spanish, they were prepared to support international players, but none of them came.
Structure and guidelines
The larp uses what they say in Spain “nordic way of doing thing”. This is: there are no rules, you are your own director once the larp begins, and there are some words that are used to control the experience. If you want to read more, click here, as they have translated all of them.
They write a character based on a questionnaire and an individual interview with one of the plot writers. They wanted to give you a character just for you, but well integrated in the general scheme. Even it was not a perfect system, I personally think it was well done.
Plot (Strengths and weaknesses)
We were in Velada, a little island near Jamaica. As a character, you could be a noble (family ruling the place), contract worker(near as slaves but white), free worker or member of one of both crews that have just arrived. Each of these groups have their own dinamics but, in addition, their relations.
The plot was generally well done. All the groups had their interests and problems, and play with them was really interesting. As a “contract worker” you should harvest sugar cane (we actually harvest some river canes), serve the noble table… And you could recieve a whiplash if you do something wrong. Violence (not only physical but also sexual) was a main point during the larp.
It wasn’t desinged only for fun but also to educate about the period and the rudeness of being in the Caribbean in the 1700s. Sexism and women abbuse was a central issue, but it was very well done. They also made a point in what is being old (In the photo, one of Gorgona’s organizers, Shagea, as an old lady who was losing her mind).
Even it was generally well desing, some of the characters remain alone in a great part of the game. They didn’t have enough relations to work correctly. In addition, there wasn’t any prepare scene, so it was difficult to control time and intensity of the experience. But I think there were minor mistakes.
And now, the difficult part: how did I live my character? Let’s introduce myself. I was playing Kidd Shaw, a young worker by contract (16 years old), who was really Anne Clark. She was pretending being a boy since she was 5, due to the obsesion of his father that anybody could rape her.
It was very difficult to play. I should seem a boy and treated like one (everybody new me for a lots of years and never suspected), but, at the same time, reveal, bit by bit, who she really was.
Preparing the character I try to really undestand a gender-swift and made it without seeming a caricature. For that, a friend introduce me a transexual who help me a lot (thanks for that, dude). I designed the clothes to be totally historical and apropiate to Kidd, including breast bandages (they hurt but they let me do some interesting scenes).
Playing Kidd/Anna was one of my best larp experiences in a weekend event. I had an amazing family (my father and my uncle) who let me live big emotions and feel like we were related. In addition, playing with the other servants was fantastic (guys, you’re totally amazing).
I could not finish without the song that was for weeks in my head. Dedicated to all the other players who sang with me in the tavern and to all the organizers (good work, even if you don’t realize now). All together now: “What do we do with a drunken sailor?”
Written by: Mirella Machancoses.
Photos courtesy of Esperanza Montero.