Last night my Tuesday group played an experimental roleplaying game called Grace.
In it you play 13 year olds. The character creation is simple, give yourself a name and a gender, a worry (from the options: sex, God, love and death) and a refuge, or something you do to be happy.
The game is simple, you play your characters in a series of scenes. One set today, then tomorrow, this weekend, next weekend, next month, next year and then in five years.
It’s a testament to our Tuesday night group, we all know and trust each other so well that we can just immediately dive into something like this. A few of us used real stories from those years to inform some drama and some emotional depth and the others all bought into it immediately.
I don’t exactly know how to share just how much I loved playing this game…we got deep, fast and the emotional intimacy growing between our characters just felt so real and so strange at the same time. Familiar territory but incredibly important and powerful all the same.
I was the only female character, the other three all played boys. Svend was amazing as Gary, the insecure, frightened of death kid who covered up real interactions with deflections and jokes. Steve played Robin, a sensitive kid with concerns about God and religion, Wayne was Jack, a self assured muso with the answer to everything and then there was me, Adele, the girl, interested in painting and sex and exploration.
Early on Gary mentioned his brother had a movie called Shortbus on his computer that Gary had not quite managed to watch all the way through. In the third scene we were all chatting online and watching it together. Oh the cringing and the confusion and the curiosity.
The last two scenes, where we were 14 and 18 were in some ways my favourites because I felt like Adele had grown some, got comfortable in her skin and become someone happier, less uncertain.
I can’t recommend this game highly enough and in many ways I’m desperate to play it again. I feel like through the medium of make believe we touched on something very true.
Now, if only I could find the damn game online to link to you…