Nordic-Russian Larp Dialog

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Thanks to J. Tuomas Harviainen I’ve acquired a copy of this (hardcopy - apparently they don’t do PDF). Since its a dialogue with commentaries, I thought I’d go through the articles (or at least the interesting ones) with my own comments. BTW, if anyone wants to borrow this when I’m done, please let me know.

“How to Convey Ideas through Larps” by Vladimir Molodykh and Alexandra Rybalko

Summary: Larps should be about something. They should have a message or express an idea, ideally one which can be expressed as a single sentence. There are lots of ways players can “get” the idea of a larp, or interact strongly with it, and the authors call these “precedents”. Based on player feedback, they group these precedents into various types, and develop a five-axis model for them. They examine different ways in which game designers can create “precedents” or situations where players engage with the idea, including by conflict, mechanics, setting, and game aesthetics (e.g. props, costumes, set-dressing and language). They then go off on a tangent about how large (500+ player) games are great, before advertising their latest larp, 1905.

Comments: From its title this article seems irrelevant to the New Zealand larping experience: we don’t do a lot of political or heavily thematic larps here, and most of our larps are “about” fun - done for entertainment, not to say anything (and the obvious exception - “The Working Quarter” at Chimera 2012 - was done by a Russian). Except that that’s not entirely true. Because one of the examples they give of something a larp can be “about” is re-creating the fictional environment of a book or movie or computer game so people can immerse in it. And we do a lot of that. “Narnia and the Coming of Winter”, “Shattered Circle”, “Delicious Friends”, “Boffo’s Birthday Bash” - these larps all try and emulate particular fictions, with varying degrees of success. And even if a larp is “about” fun, its still useful to know what sort of fun it is about, so as to ensure good design. You don’t want Wodehousian comedy tropes in your GrimDark meathook future dystopia larp (unless I supposes the aim is to soft-pedal that dystopia by telling amusing stories about feckless members of its inbred elite).

More importantly, their list of “precedents”, ways people interact with the idea of a larp, basicly boils down to a list of “how people have fun in larps”. Making difficult choices, uncovering secrets, seeing that perfect Wodehousian romance or Lovecraftian descent into insanity come off - these are all ways we have fun. Having a list of them so you can think about whether your larp is set up to produce such situations is potentially useful. Unfortunately the discussion about how to produce such situations is necessarily very high-level and sketchy, and I didn’t find the examples particularly illustrative or inspiring.

The commentary by Emma Wieslander includes strong disagreement with the idea that “conflict… is essential in getting any form of idea realised”, though they note that it may be “an issue of language”. Given that the Russian authors made it clear that conflict included internal conflict and difficult choices, and then further elaborated in how mechanics can shape the expression of conflict that its not just about beating people up with rubber swords, I’m puzzled how that could be the case; they’re clearly talking about dramatic conflict, not just combat. And having seen similar views expressed over “Fairweather Manor”, I’m wondering whether (some) Nordic larp has a problem with conflict and how they expect to have drama and stories without it. Guess I’ll just have to track down the articles Wieslander mentions to find out.

“The Modelling Rules in Russian Larps” by Olga Prudkovskaya

Summary: This is a summary of the types of mechanics used in Russian larps. According to the author, Russian larps have a strong focus on fantasy, SF or pre-20th century history (because recent Russian history sucks). They also tend to look at events on a large scale, in abstract time, requiring rules for armies, politics, scientific research, and economic activity (1905 is a good example of this). There’s a summary of mechanical design trends and design principles, and a quick outline of some of the mechanics used as well as on technological solutions.

Comments: This is more interesting for the picture it paints of Russian larps, their origins and design trends than for the mechanical details. But despite a very different format and subject matter, Russian larp designers face the same design pressures that we do in New Zealand: the tension between simplicity and accuracy; the need for mechanics that work well in the field.

The mechanics described are the sorts of things we see here: hit point or call-based combat systems and item cards or markers to make it clear that something exists in-game. There’s a couple of useful tricks: laminated cards with some parts concealed by peel-off tape in place of layered contingency envelopes looks quite useable. There’s also a brief mention of the “land of the dead” technique for making character death interesting, but that’s been covered in detail elsewhere. I would have liked to see more about science mechanics, since these could be an interesting way to give an experience of actual discovery to a game.

The commentary by Mike Pohjola largely contrasts the “gamist” mechanics described with the anti-gamist Nordic style. This isn’t just a matter of mechanics, though - as he points out, Nordic larps tend not to have combat rules because they don’t focus on combat. There’s also some discussion of abstraction (and Aristotle), which Pohjola thinks is an exciting possibility. He’s never encountered larps with abstract time and economic cycles before (his US experience apparently didn’t include old ILF long-format games, or the MIT Assassin’s Guild, both of which include these sorts of features). Of course, when you start adding that, it adds a whole pile of extra complexity to your larp - but also gives the characters levers on the world, enabling them to control the direction of play and make meaningful decisions. And that can be a really interesting thing to have in a larp.

“Larps Built on the Problem of Choice” by Alexy Semenov

Summary: Some Russian larps are focused on forcing the characters to make “existential choices”, defined here in the philosophical sense as being an individual, unavoidable choice between alternatives for which there is no optimal solution (rather than the practical one of “am I going to live or die” - though in some games that could be such a choice). The author attempts to give some techniques for building such choices into a game, as well as examples of games where they have been used.

Comments: Existential choices can make for powerful roleplaying experiences, and are a great thing to build into a game. Unfortunately the examples and information on techniques (and the article as a whole) suffers from translation issues. The authors suggest gamification and symbolism as techniques - forcing such choices through mechanics such as accumulating sin points, or having a symbolic representation of a character’s love or faith as an object in the game (where it can be bought, sold, given away, or even destroyed). They also suggest playing with time and using flashbacks, though translation issues make it unclear how this helps. In both cases, they seem to be talking about very different sorts of games to the ones we do here; in a theatre-style game, if you want existential choices, you just write them into the character backgrounds and goals (e.g. “decide what to do about your relationship”) and the players will do the rest. If you want a strongly-themed larp where everyone is making such choices, then its just a matter of writing enough uncertain, indecisive people who are unsure of what they really want. Though I suppose you could always do it framework style as well, by requiring each character to have a core existential dilemma they are not resolved on, and putting ways of triggering this into the gamespace or mechanics.

Sarah Lynne Bowman’s commentary contrasts games about choice with both “play to win” and “play to lose” - making existential choices seems to fall into neither category. She also points out that all three modes of play can exist in the same game (something I think campaign larp players would probably agree on). Though from a theatre-style design perspective, I’d seen choices as goals as a way of subverting “play to win” to point people at interesting roleplay: some players view achieving their goals as “winning” (or at least as a way of keeping score), so telling them “go out and do this undefinable thing which involves a lot of indecision and inner angst” is basicly telling them “roleplaying is winning” (its also a lazy way of designing, which is another reason I like it).

If “play to win” is Gamist, and “play to lose” is Narrativist, then this is more like “play your character”, which is Simulationist (or Immersionist).

Grappling with inner conflict with no easy solution is not necessarily about your character succeeding or making interesting stories or scenes, but it’s well suited to experiencing a character’s mental life from the inside and learning from that experience.

“Larp as a Story: Told to Little-Known People Who Interrupt You All The Time And Do Not Laugh at Your Jokes” by Daria Kurguzova and Vladimir Servetnik

Summary: Larp is a form of collaborative storytelling between the participants - both the organisers (through the material they provide: setting, rules, characters or the frameworks for them) and the players (who make the actual decisions about what happens when and why). Importantly, they suggest that the story is not just affected by the briefing materials and what happens at the larp, but by the game’s wider context: pre-game advertising, discussion, and references to other material can shape expectations and therefore story (e.g. if I say I’m running a “Game of Thrones” larp, that suggests certain sorts of stories. Ditto if I say I’m running Wodehouse. And those expectations will flow through even if the character sheets fail to capture or ignore the outside material). Unusually, they think that a larp can have a non-participant audience, who can understand and appreciate the story.

Comments: The central thesis - that larp is collaborative storytelling - should be uncontroversial. We think this about roleplaying in general, after all. What’s controversial is who is telling the story, and the balance of narrative agency between organisers and players. If the organisers have control, then you get railroading; if the players have it, you tend to get chaos, as divergent creative agendas pull in opposite directions, or mush, as people struggle to find one. Hence the need for collaboration, to get everyone on the same page. In a larp, that’s almost always driven by the organisers - but there’s no real reason it has to be (someone could design a larp to test this, but I’m not going to - I like my design rut, thankyouverymuch).

There’s a lot of tedious definition, occasionally punctuated by useful material. The influence of pre-game material and expectations on the story means that first impressions are important; if the first thing the players see is the combat system, then they’re going to think the larp is about combat. Quests aren’t about the characters, so just aren’t very interesting. But its hard work to find them.

Eirik Fatland’s commentary points at Nordic debates about narrativism, which have focused on railroading and GMs as storytellers - “Story Before”. But apparently they’ve never really talked about roleplaying (and larping) itself as a process of storytelling. Fatland talks about this in the context of verbal storytellers making stuff up as they go along, but indie games with their emphasis on frameworks which enable story to emerge through play - “Story Now” - provide a more relevant example. Which is getting me thinking about that “secrets and powers larp” article in the WyrdCon book and the claim that “larp has to have a narrative”, but that I think is another thread…

“Talismans: The Birth of Siberian Existential Larps” by Fyodor Slyusarchuk

Summary: The author suggests that larp is fundamentally about “crossing borders” (escapism) and suggests a three-axis model of what is being escaped from (the everyday world, by playing in a different setting; the self, by playing someone different; and everydayness itself, by playing dramatic events). They think that designers produce a consistent sort of experience across multiple games, and that each designer or larp tradition has a specific combination on these vectors which defines their style of play - their “focus”. They also think that each designer or larp tradition has a specific “challenge” required to “cross the borders” and enter the larp reality. They then test this theory by examining the history of a larp campaign in Krasnoyarsk and its evolution from an extreme form of gamism to larps with recognisable roleplaying and existentialist themes.

Comments: The main value of this article is the historical section, which is an interesting (though high-level) summary of a series of Siberian larps. The brief comments about the extreme gamism prevailing in the early 1990’s being a reaction to and reflection of the Russian society of the time suggests that there’s an interesting article to be written along the lines of Lizzie Stark’s “We hold these rules to be self-evident” about the sociology of Russian larping trends.

Their three-axis model of escapism is a concise description of some of the things people enjoy about larps. The theory they build on it is obviously incorrect. You don’t have to look far to find designers who produce very different experiences from game to game; locally just consider the works of Anna, Catnip, or the Sisters Pegg, for example. And even the historical example given by the authors seems to show an experience which changes over time. Their idea of a “challenge” is true on a trivial level - pretty obviously in order to larp you need to tun up, play a character, maybe wear a costume or obey certain rules - but they speak of it as being more significant, as a “sacrifice” or “communion”. This may be bad translation, or the author may be disappearing up the arsehole of their own liminality metaphor. Given that they open the article with an extended wank about how larp is “a riot against culture, a new round in the struggle for metaphysical freedom”, I suspect the latter.

Niina Niskanen’s commentary speculates that larp groups around the world similarly “evolve” from gamism and “play to win” to “play to lose”, a “truly significant culture of play”, as their players age. As an intellectual position, its arrogant, and suggests an author who refuses to acknowledge that different people enjoy different things. As an empirical position, its simply nonsensical, and obviously so the moment you think about US larps like Dagorhir and Amtgard. These are some of the oldest larps in the world, and still producing the same sort of experience they did in 1977 or 1983, despite multiple generations of players growing up, getting jobs, and having kids. There are likely NERO campaigns which are counter-examples as well (there’s certainly a stereotype of NERO campaigns with players who have participated for a decade or more; you see it whenever the issue of power differentials in campaigns crops up). It would be helpful if larp theorists actually looked at the wider world of larp for empirical evidence (or obvious falsifications) before theorising. But that would require that they stuck their head out of the Nordic bubble…

Edited: to add comments on commentary.

“Incentives as Tools of Larp Dramaturgy” by Eirik Fatland

(This is a reprint from the Knutepunkt 2005 book, Dissecting larp)

Summary: “Dramaturgy” is the art of adapting a story for the stage or for film. While the “fog of larp” - the actions of the players - limits the ability of larpwrights to predict the exact sequence of events in a larp, larpwrights have various tools to affect actions within the game. This enables limited predictions of story possibilities to be made from the game setup, and for larp to be used to tell stories.

Fatland calls these tools “incentives”. He examines the basic incentives: conflict, triggers, puzzles, instructions (both absolute e.g. fates, and weak, e.g. suggestions), tasks and scheduling, gives implementation examples and explores their effects on story and predictability. The way an incentive is presented to the player and the degree of interpretation it allows can have a significant effect on predictability and weaken or thicken the fog of larp (e.g. “kill the villagers” vs “pacify the village”). He suggests that incentive structures can be mapped, flowchart-style. Finally, he briefly mentions two non-incentive-based ways of constructing larps.

Comments: This is the sort of article I read these books for. Shorn of its theatre-studies and chaos theory language, its a great description of what we actually do as larpwrights in writing a larp, and a great summary of the toolkit we have available to build enjoyable games. While I don’t think its the first thing to read to answer the question “how do I write a larp?”, I think its something that larpwrights can definitely benefit from. Except for the flowchart bit: that seems like a waste of time.

There’s also some interesting discussion of story and larps. While sidestepping the issue of whether it is GMs or players who are the storytellers - that’s really a question of the incentives used and how tight they are - it argues that the idea of a larp having a single story is nonsensical. Instead, it has multiple stories, one per player. I find this persuasive. But that also has some strong implications for design and the amount of story you need to seed into your game.

Both Russian commentators are impressed with the article but not with the academic language. Both also express hostility to the idea of players being “directly or indirectly programmed”. Andrey Salik goes into more detail on this, and basicly argues that use of incentives (or at least those structured as instructions, which would include strong goals) is the same as in-game GM direction and railroading. They also argue that Nordic larpers aren’t interested in immersion, a view which is impossible to reconcile with the extensive Nordic literature on the subject. There may be translation issues here (both ways), but they might in fact be arguing that Russians are less accepting of GM-created characters (and hence of the incentives that go with them).

I tend to enjoy a third (well, in this case a fourth) option: “Play Not to win”. I usually don’t play to win or loose, but to make sure it becomes a beautiful scene for others. If my character looses something because of it but the game, players around and the story wins then I, as a player, win.

Very interesting articles and very close to home for me. :slight_smile:

“The Character, the Player, and Their shared Body” by Tova Gerge and Gabriel Widing

(Reprinted from Role, Play, Art, the Knutpunkt 2006 book)

Summary: The physical experience of larping affects us. Being hungry, being tired, being excited, being stressed - these can both affect roleplaying and produce lasting reactions to a game. The authors give three Nordic larps as examples: Europa, which used hunger and crowding; Mellan himmel och hav, which explored alternative gender and sexuality; and PanoptiCorp, which used workplace stress, sleep deprivation and a perpetual popularity contest. All three had a significant effect on the participants as a result of the physical experience. The authors suggest that physical experiences can be used to consciously change the participants. As verbal interaction can be used to moderate and weaken this effect, they suggest a variety of silent games.

Comments: To be honest, I find this article disturbing and just a little bit threatening. The basic premise - that physical experiences in larp can produce reactions and change us - is pretty obviously true, and nowdays we have a whole language around “bleed” to describe it (though it tends to focus on the psychological rather than the physical). But as someone who larps for fun, the agenda of using games to consciously and lastingly change their participants is well outside my comfort zone - and without informed consent, simply unethical. And every time I read about the aftermath of Mellan himmel och hav - where a large number of the players made significant changes in their lives and relationships as a result of the game - I wonder whether that possibility was ever presented to them as a consequence of play. On the one hand, you can see it as a powerful work of art, which had its intended effect of getting the participants to question social conventions of gender and sexuality. On the other, it can also be viewed as an unethical psychological experiment in which the GM’s fucked up their player’s lives, probably without really thinking about it.

The ethics of using such techniques isn’t discussed. Which is worrying, because the physical techniques used as examples - hunger, sleep deprivation, stress - are precisely those used by military and intelligence agencies to make people more susceptible to interrogation. They’re also one half of the recipe for brainwashing - and the other half (isolation and repeated messaging) can easily be provided by the larp itself. In other words, this is shit that you should not casually fuck around with if you respect the psychological integrity of your participants. If you are using it in a political larp like Europa, you need to carefully consider the ethics and seek informed consent from all participants.

Next to that, the various silent games proposed are merely comfortably, safely weird. There are larps which have played with silence and focus on the physical experience, and while they don’t sound like my thing, whatever floats your boat.

Alyona Muravlyanskaya’s commentary notes that Russian larpers prefer to abstract away the physical experience; for example by using mechanics to represent food and hunger (though interestingly, two of their supposed “abstract” torture mechanics - push ups and long-standing - are in fact real torture techniques and are used as such in Fiji). They then gives examples of how various Russian larps have used physical techniques and tactile play to enhance their larp experience (including scent, restrictions on speech, limb-binding and consensual stress positions and waterboarding). Hunger apparently never works in (usually large) games, as people bring their own food; OTOH, if you give Russian larpers the opportunity to poke themselves with a sterile needle and sign a contract in their own blood, they’ll leap at it (I suspect the same would be true here).

Maria Raczynska’s commentary focuses on the genre of survival larps and the problems of transitioning to diagetic sex in a larp culture that opposes in-game flirting and quick “time-out” clarifications. It also discusses the horror-show of cross-gender larping in Russia - a subject which is expanded on in Olga Vorobyeva’s recent article in the 2015 Wyrdcon Companion Book

I think this is what is usually meant by “play to lose”.

I think this is what is usually meant by “play to lose”.[/quote]

Yes. Or if you look at it another way, life is boring if your character succeeds all the time. Self-sabotage is steering for interesting play for yourself and others.

I agree with you. Manipulating players with OOC issues like hunger, sleep deprivation and isolation seem to really go beyond the realm of LARP. Or at least LARP that is still just being done as a game for people to have fun in, and not someone’s poorly disguised psychology experiment that they would never get ethics approval for. I suppose there are people out there who think that this sort of thing is the true value of LARP, but I’m not one of them, and, based on your description, it sounds like the authors are a bit too happy to perform psychological experimentation and manipulation on their players for my tastes.

Furthermore, it is possible to get people to question themselves and their beliefs and behaviours without resorting to extreme methods. I know back a year or two ago, a game was run in Auckland that had people questioning themselves for days after. As I understand it, people were given a bit of a nudge in a certain direction at the start of the game, and then the rest of what happened followed fairly naturally (and I think it was that people were unpleasant to others). At the end, the GM pointed out to everyone that what they did was their idea, and came from them, it wasn’t dictated to them by the game at all. It got people thinking about what they are capable of, and what they might do given the right (or wrong really) circumstances, but without messing around with people’s wellbeing.

I think this is what is usually meant by “play to lose”.[/quote]

Not quite. At least, not from my point of view.
Play to win/loose signifies an emphasis on the manner of which you play the game, set up scenes et cetera. It means that if I “Play to loose” I actively strive to set myself up for the fall.
And as a counter part “Play to win” signifies that I play to do just that: Win.

If I instead “play NOT to win” I set myself up to play scenes as dramatically (and inviting) as possible.
Maybe I see that the scene would benefit of me winning, maybe loosing depending on how this is perceived by the other participants in the scene. What outcome would make for a better scene and future game play?
That, for me, is “Play not to win”. It is not about winning or loosing.

Also, I tend to play not for myself but for others.

[quote=“IdiotSavant”] From its title this article seems irrelevant to the New Zealand larping experience: we don’t do a lot of political or heavily thematic larps here, and most of our larps are “about” fun - done for entertainment, not to say anything (and the obvious exception - “The Working Quarter” at Chimera 2012 - was done by a Russian).

More importantly, their list of “precedents”, ways people interact with the idea of a larp, basicly boils down to a list of “how people have fun in larps”. Making difficult choices, uncovering secrets, seeing that perfect Wodehousian romance or Lovecraftian descent into insanity come off - these are all ways we have fun. Having a list of them so you can think about whether your larp is set up to produce such situations is potentially useful.
…[/quote]

First up:
I don’t understand your viewpoint. Are you for or against having thematic/political larps?

And second:
The one does not exclude the other. Having “fun” while examining political ideologies (for example) is very easy.

And thirdly:
I thought that the Dunedin group did quite a few thematic larps?

[quote=“esapesa”]And thirdly:
I thought that the Dunedin group did quite a few thematic larps?[/quote]
Define “thematic” as you mean it here?

(I’m in Dunedin and can answer your questions :slight_smile: )

I think this is what is usually meant by “play to lose”.[/quote]

Not quite. At least, not from my point of view.[/quote]

I’m just describing how I think the authors of the article would have meant it.

In the Nordic larp community what you’re describing as “play not to win” is called “play to lose”, as I understand it.

When they “play to lose” they don’t literally mean trying to always lose, they mean playing for dramatic effect or the overall good of the game/story rather than to win. There is no school of thought that promotes actually trying to always have your character fail, so there’s no name for that.

I suspect they choose the term “play to lose” to make it clear that it’s a very different approach to trying to achieve your character’s objectives, i.e. “playing to win.”

[quote=“esapesa”]First up:
I don’t understand your viewpoint. Are you for or against having thematic/political larps?[/quote]

I express no opinion on that. I’m merely commenting that we don’t have a lot of them in NZ, and that NZ larpwrights tend to produce larps focused first and foremost on entertainment (in various forms), with political and artistic messages very much taking a back seat if they’re considered at all. We don’t do a lot of didactic larps, we don’t “do gender” very often, and there’s not a lot of misery tourism (though some “Bad Dreams” games probably qualify, as did “The Epidemic”). And when we do do these things, they’re small games - not core parts of the NZ larping experience.

(If you’d like to see more thematic / political larps, then feel free to write one. Be the change you want to see in the world!)

More generally, in these comments I’m often looking for ways in which the article is relevant to the NZ larp experience, or to NZ larpwrights. Hence “this doesn’t seem particularly relevant, but this bit, this bit here, is useful”).

[quote=“esapesa”]And second:
The one does not exclude the other. Having “fun” while examining political ideologies (for example) is very easy.[/quote]

Of course not (despite what some Nordic theorists thought pre-2010).

“The Queen’s Justice” was primarily making political points about oppression, extremism and violent rebellion.

It was intended to be miserably oppressive rather than entertaining, but of course a lot comes down to the players’ interpretations. The run you played in may have been more lighthearted. That game would actually benefit from pre and post workshops in the Nordic style.

Yes. Its explicitly intended to contrast the dramatist and gamist stances (see the Nordic Larp Wiki).

“Eye-witness to the Illusion: an Essay on the Impossibility of 360° roleplaying” by Johanna Koljonen

(Reprinted from Lifelike, the 2007 Knudepunkt book)

Summary: The 360° illusion - basicly a “what you see is what you get” physical setting - is now considered one of the basics of Nordic larping, and something many games strive to achieve. This article explores the origins of the technique in the mid-1990’s and explores its use in various larps up until the mid 2000’s. In the process, it argues that the 360° illusion actually undermines immersion and roleplaying. Removing the need to translate the world into its fictional state highlights the thinness of the characters, making them harder to portray believably, while leaving character interaction as the primary means of interacting with the game. This in turn may lead to unrealistic, forced interaction, while reducing the chances for solitary roleplay. More importantly, translating the world is seen as so central to roleplaying that the author doubts it really happens in a 360° environment.

Comments: As with some others in this book, the main value of this article is the historical material. Its central thesis is dubious. Reading between the lines, what the author thinks Turkuists are really doing when they cry alone in their closet isn’t immersing themselves in their character’s sorrow, but imagining that the closet is something else. And that simply seems obviously wrong. And it speaks volumes IMHO that instead of abandoning the 360° illusion as detrimental to roleplaying and immersion, the Nordic scene has instead pursued better and better illusions in the hope of producing better and more immersive roleplaying experiences.

Alexy Saozhnikov’s commentary disagrees with Koljonen’s thesis for similar reasons; they don’t think that a better setting results in more players simply “playing [them]self among some scenery”. They suggest that a strict commitment to a unity of time and space entailed by the 360 illusion creates plot constraints. They also suggest some interesting questions around the priority of what is included in the illusion - basicly, how good does your set design have to be, and what is “good enough”?

Anton Zaitsev’s commentary is a full article in itself. Unfortunately its full of misconceptions, treating 360 as an ideological position or absolute rule of strict realism (which therefore rules out genre larps), rather than as a technique used to varying degrees (including, from the beginning, in genre larps). More importantly, while he rejects Koljonen’s thesis about immersion, he does it from the position of not actually being interested in what is going on in the players’ heads. According to Zaitsev, what’s important about our solitary sobbing Turkuist is simply that they are crying. Whether they’re crying because they’ve got themselves deeply into their character’s headspace of sadness, or have simply stuck chilli in their eyes isn’t relevant; there’s no difference for the player - “both for him and for the people around, there is only the fact that he is crying”. And he claims to represent a culture which values “immersion into character”? I’m not sure that he even understands the meaning of the word.