We went to Spieltage!!! And it was great. BUT what has been event greater is the amount of work we’ve covered in this last week. We had our second playtest last Wednesday night and then on Monday afternoon, fresh from a weekend of hard core board gaming at Spieltage in Essen, we crashed right on through and did our first stumble through of the show. This was a terribly exciting moment, and also terrifying because we had not really had a chance to see what this show is going to be like yet. Having written it all together – writing into the same script – and then reading it and editing one another’s work it has been a bit tricky to get a mental image of the whole thing together. I think this is partially because we have three aspects of the show – the system science concepts, the game rules explanations and playing and the little character/story vignettes that give a POV of some of the people on the ground of our little fictional festival – and these all in their own way are a little narrative in themselves.
The stumble through went pretty well for a stumble through. No major slashes to the script seem to be needed, all the games worked quite well even if they were a bit off, or needed a different explanation. We were by no means clear and concise but the foggy shape of a good show is there. Which at this stage is comforting.
What was interesting to me during the stumble through was the overlapping moments. Where something we’d already explained in a game was then repeated again and again in the story, the science, the rules explanation. This is an easy trap to stumble into because we REALLY want to convey these systems thinking concepts but in actual fact just makes it all incredibly boring and a bit patronizing too. We’ve been working hard in the days since then slimming down our script and trying to get the right balance of communication throughout all the aspects of the show while keeping everything fun, light and clear. We had another playtest this evening and – while I’ll leave it to someone else to elaborate on that if they like – I feel that we’re already more aware of the clarity in which we impart our information. Which is good news because we’re off to Battersea Arts Centre next week for our Scratch performances and the more we can have in place before them the more we can learn from them and the better our show is going to be.