What if we travelled back in time? AGH UST launches LARPs

The AGH UST sets off a series of live action role-playing events (LARPs). A LARP is a cultural activity that consists of playing assigned roles, similar to improvised theatre. The staged performance with the participation of players will take place, among other places, in the historic building of our university, including the Assembly Hall.

The story of a LARP can be set both in a real and a fictitious world. It happens on the borderline between an improvised RPG and art, where participants play previously assigned roles. Scandinavian countries excel in organising LARPs which, as a form of engaging cultural entertainment, are chosen as a leisure activity more often than basketball or other team sports. Some schools organise LARPs to teach history, literature, or civics. The AGH UST launches a series of such events to expand the cultural offer of the university and to encourage students, employees, and theatre or literature lovers to have fun with us!

An additional advantage to LARPs, to which the organisers point, is the possibility to experience the roles and demeanours with which the participants do not come in contact on a daily basis or do not identify with. LARPs can touch upon difficult social issues or moral problems; they can evoke strong emotions and give food for thought.

The AGH UST LARP titled ‘Testament Orłowskiego’ [Orłowski’s Testament] will take place on the AGH UST Campus, in the Main Building. The players, participants in a party meeting, will play previously prepared roles. The storyline of the LARP is set in a fictional, non-existent totalitarian state and tells the story about an authorities convention deciding about the fate of the country in a crisis. The narrative contains some Lem-style fantasy and directly refers to the year of Stanisław Lem, a famous Polish science-fiction writer. What is interesting is that this LARP will give a new lease of life to some of the historical machines and electronic equipment from the AGH UST Museum, as they will be part of the stage design. The LARP was preceded by an image campaign presenting the characters. The players will impersonate politicians, scientists, secret agents, or military personnel. The authors of the LARP are Marek Frankowski, DSc (AGH UST) and writer Jan Gąsior.

Jan Gąsior, scriptwriter and co-creator of the Ghostrunner video game that was recognised as the best game of the year 2020 in the Digital Dragons Awards competition and nominated for a prestigious cultural award presented by the Polityka magazine in the Digital Culture category.

‘Together with co-organisers from the AGH UST, I want this script to serve the actual ambience and climate of the 1970s or 1980s. The interiors we’ve got at our disposal, that is the Assembly Hall in the historic building or other rooms in the Main Building, are astonishing locations and will certainly add to the LARP. The players will have the opportunity to give life to the political fiction script in the spacious assembly hall and the main hall that witnessed numerous events during their more than 100-year history’.

The script and the event itself is co-authored by an AGH UST fellow researcher Marek Frankowski, DSc, from the Faculty of Computer Science, Electronics, and Telecommunications, an experienced LARP creator and participant.

‘Students, young people, participants in cultural events, with increasing frequency and openness, seek cultural experiences that will engage them personally and which they’ll be able to co-create. LARP gives them such possibilities. This type of entertainment might seem similar to the world of computer games, but it gives its participants so much more: players can experience the storyline as it goes, in reality. Additionally, at the AGH UST we have excellent locations to create various kinds of narratives. The Main Building alone, with its cloisters, spacious assembly hall, or extensive main hall and stairs, can be the background for remarkably colourful fables’, says the scientist.

The LARP will take place on March 26, 2022, in the evening. The organisers have prepared roles for 60 participants.