As the last cases were stacked, one cover fell to the floor. A home made DVD from 2004, taken at one of our Live Action Role Play events called Renewal. For those unacquainted with Live Action Role Play or LARP as it is affectionately known, I would direct them to my many videos on the subject on the Vollsanger Youtube Channel. Sometimes called "Cross Country Pantomime", sometimes ridiculed and oft laughed at, it is a game system that allows the playing of a different character, dress up with your friends, eat drink and be merry. It is a sort of re-enactment with commitment - playing up to 24 hours of the day while at event and not just in front of the public for a couple of hours. Interest and commitment to costume is often equal, commitment to plot and storyline is far greater, and it allows imagination to run riot.
And so it is that at Renewal, the main Fest of the year for Curious Pastimes Role Play group, where magic and conspiracy take equal part with battle and heroism, that the Ritual Circle, a sort of stage Stone Henge saw the passing of a group of Vikings called the Storm Wolves. And from the technical box overlooking the circle, the FX crew had set a video camera, unknown to anyone in the circle.
I am not saying that the acting would have been any better had we known. Probably not! We were not acting really - this was role playing and there is a subtle difference. Really!
The opportunity to wear the kit and strut around being important, and the inclusion of a certain amount of alcoholic beverage on occasion to keep the chill out of the bones, the fear out of the soul, and the embarrassment out of the behaviour all help to bring en event to its own life.
The steaming central altar and the lights glowing from the trees subtly changing the atmosphere and the disembodied voice of the Ritual Circle itself all cause a certain amount of trepidation - after all - characters die in the ritual circle if not careful. The Stone Triptique Arch can open and anything can come out !!!
It is a type of theatre - but it is not scripted. The outcome in unknown for each player in the circle. The appearance of the Valkyrie was welcome and hoped for but not guaranteed. At any stage, a mistake in authenticity or enthusiasm could lead the "powers that be" to be as fickle as the gods they represented. Indeed, my own character was refused passage to a safe haven for the heinous crime of having married - but that is another story.
But as the Valkyrie indeed came out into the circle, and gathered the glorious fallen, this was another occasion where I remembered why I had taken up this crazy hobby late in life. After all, an ageing policeman rarely gets the opportunity of being surrounded by so many beautiful young ladies who took such efforts to dress up. I sometimes regret that I was not born in the time of the corset and bodice, but here, in my hobby, I can have some innocent enjoyment of times gone by.
They say that you must break eggs to get omelettes, or to start a flock of chickens, but the DVD that fell from the shelf reminded me of the time that I stood in the Ritual Circle to say farewell to those gallant colleagues... and a review and re-edit of the film shows the level of Ham involved.
The Full Video -
16 minutes of Ham... you could boil a lot of eggs in that time !!!
Full set of photos on FLICKR