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The judgemental mirror

8 Apr


This exercise experiments with a characters perception of how others perceive him or her



The group writes down around seven actions that can be taken in social situations, which the person later has to perform nonverbally in front of them. While this is going on, the person playing the character should leave the group. This should take a maximum of five minutes.

Examples, for a young person, who is in love with a girl, but scared about how the family will judge him, might be performing the following actions:

  • Smiling at the family.
  • Looking serious in front of the family.
  • Greeting the family for the first time, by trying to shake their hand.
  • The First Kiss
  • Kneeling and asking her to marry him.


  1. One participant stands in front of the rest of the group. They are all bunched up closely, such that he can see all of them, and they can stare back at him.
  2. The group hands him a slip of paper with an action on it
  3. The person then has to perform this action, nonverbally, whilst all the other participants stare at him and comment on his behaviour in a judgemental manner. The other people never do anything other than stand and stare at the person. The main participant must maintain eye contact with the others at all times.
  4. Whenever the situation has drawn out for long enough in an awkward manner, another slip is handed to the player, which he then has to perform

Examples might be:

  • “That smile is very awkward”.
  • “My god, seriously, he is doing that?”
  • “Grow up.”
  • “This is a disaster.”
  • “Thank god I’m not him”


When all the notes have been used you thank the players.


  • If done as a character preparation exercise, the other players might play their respective characters as well, while being judgmental.
  • The affirming mirror. Instead of being judgmental, the other players notice nice things about the character.
  • The status mirror. If done as a character preparation exercise, the other characters might comment on the behaviour based on their relative opinion of the person. A rock star might be showered in praise, with certain people finding his actions ridiculous, whereas a bully victim might be despised by some people, pitied by others, and loved by one person.


Created at Knutpunkt 2014 by Danny Wilson and Frida Karlsson Lindgren


Character Co-creation: Surrendering to the group

5 Mar


To create characters collaboratively. To let go of the power of your own character creation, and give it to your group.


The group must be smaller than 6 people, or else you have to split the group in two.

The players need to be comfortable with improvisation. If not, then you have to work a lot more and add a couple of improvisation exercises.


– Tell the participants of the concept of Veto and Retake. If someone gives you a suggestion about your character which you don’t want to use in play, say Veto and the person gets to do a retake, i.e give another suggestion.

– There’s a point with every part of this workshop, and the order they come in. However, you may rearrange and pick out the bits that fits your larp.


-Start with instructing the players to lie on the floor or sit comfortably. Take turns to say random words in the relationship and trait categories, e.g “shy” or “lovers”

Attitude: Pair up two and two. Give each other your (pretend) opinion of them, e.g “I think you’re a pain in the ass”, or “I love how you fight”. Take some turns, and then change direction of the improvisation. If A has been giving and establishing what he/she thinks of B, then it’s B’s turn. “Oh, you think I’m a wonderful dancer!” or “You hate my guts”. Remind them that you’re supposed to pretend stuff, and not tell your partner your real attitudes.

Secrets in the closet: Pair up two and two. A asks what B has in his/her closet, and B presents one of his/her secrets. “Look here, I’ve been cheating these last two years!” or, “I’ve been lying about my past to get a job!”. Change direction after a couple of rounds, so that A establish what B has in his/her closet. “Oh, you have an inferiority complex!”

Accusations: Pair up two and two and start accusing each other. A “You have exactly the same sweater as me, you’re just trying to be like me, aren’t you?” and B gets to shortly react.

Character creation

Fragments: The group shall collaboratively write as many character fragments as participants. The fragments may only consist of an external unreasonable anticipation, “My mom always expects me to get top grades”. You should also add two long-term goals, that in certain situations will be in conflict and force decisions. “I want to make my parents proud, but/and I want to have as much fun as I can in my life.”

Memories: Gather up and give out the character fragments at random. The group shall focus on one character at a time and describe a memory they have about him or her, from the perspective of their own character. “She always used  to laugh a little too loud at my jokes. It’s was quite uncomfortable”. Do a few rounds while the owner of the character take notes.

This exercise’s purpose is primarily to find out who the character is, through someone else’s eyes. But a lovely side effect is that you get to know the relationship between A and the other characters, and a bit of who they are. Point it out to the players.

Eavesdrop: The group improvises a scene where they talk behind the back of the character, while he/she eavesdrops. Make a scene where they talk positively and one negatively, e.g. a scene where A did a great thing scolding the teacher, or when A fucked the whole project up. The character has heard this in-game. The other players play their own characters. Switch so that everyone gets to eavesdrop.

Short-term: Take turns improvising in couples while the rest watch. You will make up scenes where you explore the characters short-term goals. B starts with an accusation or assumption, with focus on relationship and personality. “I know it was you who made me trip during the exercises! You always try to make me look bad in front of everyone, what have I ever done to you?! “