As a young person I was in love with fantasy and science fiction literature and film. As a young adult I couldn’t wait for people to throw costume parties so I could get into disguise. At age 54, however, it’s impossible to carry off the characters I used to enjoy at twenty, thirty and even forty. Black eyeliner just doesn’t look the same over crow’s-feet, nor does a body suit have the same impact when gravity has taken effect. Not to be deterred, I bought spanks for my Attack on Titan cosplay, but that’s another story.
Owning a costume business does legitimize my presence in civies while watching the eddies of costume groups gathering at Con-G, Anime North and FanExpo ~ without looking like a stalker.
I couldn’t wait to bring it to Con-G this February when I was asked by Underworld LARP to design and run a couple of how-to make-up sessions.
LARP has pretty specific rules for it’s members. Conspiring with Remi [a former co-op student and LARPer] and Underworld PR dude, Darcy, as well as visiting their website, helped guide the design of four characters complete with make-up, costuming and props.
LARP is a game, like Monopoly, except instead of gathering money and property, you gather points for spells that will help avoid your character’s death. Participants create a name, a back story and physically dress and act out their characters’ actions. These players pursue goals in a fictional setting placed within our real world, like a farm or a community centre, all the while interacting with other characters. The organization, in this case Underworld, has very rules for character attributes [Human, Orc, Feline, Elf and their ilk], also for clothing and for spells to make mischief and get you out of mischief.
Underworld is for 19+ and also very specific in the use of weapons ~ in that they are structurally designed not to cause harm [are foam] and are suitable for the character [i.e. no fake AK-47’s for Orcs].
Events are staged with specific themes, for example at Underworld High Winter the theme was Jack Frost. Non-Player Characters [NPC] are also essential in LARPing. They are usually players volunteering as the event’s boogeymen in exchange for points that they can then use in the future. Like I said, it’s a game and Underworld keeps score. Count on it.
NPC’s are sworn to secrecy about plot points and dressed to scare or beat the bushes for players. Well, Underworld’s motto is Run. Fight. Hide. At any event, the Game Keepers mediate the player actions based on these rules and drive the play, including clarification for newbies and decision-making for squabblers, all in an event that fosters creativity, promotes team work and social engagement, gets your heart pumping, has humour and scares the bee-jez. Perfect!
The costumes, props, wigs and make-up are from Fee Fi Fo Fun Costumes and the make-up, styling and sessions were suitably enhanced by LARP-Cosplayer-Artists Angela and Michelle.