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Just a Little Loving, play report

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Jun. 17th, 2012 | 12:24 am

I’m going to try to writing up something about my character’s arc in Just a Little Loving. Obviously this is subjective and not a complete account of everything that happened to him.

Warning – probably not safe for work, given the content of the larp.

Concept: (written by the organisers)
Walter, Psychologist/therapist. Caring and open personality, sexually attracted to minds rather than bodies, traumatised by an abusive father. Recognised by the gay community as a gay friendly counsellor. Suffers from guilt issues particularly in relation to Beatrice.

I’m going present this broken down by the different characters he had strong relationships with:
- Beatrice. In backstory, Walter was in a 6 year relationship and engaged to Beatrice (trainee nurse; they were both quite young at the time). She developed cancer. He left her at the Saratoga house for cancer patients / survivors. He couldn’t bear to watch her die, and could hardly dump her like that, so ended the relationship by coming out as gay.
She survived, and they met by chance in Act 1. They said they would catch up, but never did in act 1 and 2, and she blocked his attempts to start a conversation beyond a hello with her. He still loved her (never stopped), and found seeing her making out with Lawrence (a child abuser, or so Walter had been told by Lawrence’s ex)and others in front on him difficult to bear. He discussed this with his long term gay play partner Steve and others.
He started projecting those feelings onto others over the years, becoming bi-curious, closet bi (since it wasn’t acceptable in that community) and eventually openly bi. In Act 3 they had a heart to heart (Lawrence was dead by that point, and she had not abandoned him, so had passed the test he had failed) and she forgave him. They agreed to become friends again, but not ever have a relationship again.

- Steve. Head of the cruiser’s club (a member’s club for manly men who like men), Walter’s ‘top’ and regular play partner. A professor in everyday like, so they bound at an intellectual level. A supportive father/big brother figure that Walter confided in. Refused to accept Walter as bi even when he said he was in love with Beatrice. Walter never formally broke with the club/scene, but gradually drifted away from it. If they weren’t such good friends, I imagine Walter would have been kicked out the club (or ‘leaving by mutual agreement’) for not being gay by the end of Act 3. Their friendship never wavered, and Steve was often the person Walter would go to when he didn’t want to be alone.

- Reuben. Reuben was a patient of Walter, who he had helped handle his gay feelings and come out as gay (before he was gay himself); he was an old school friend and felt like a little brother. Reuben was also a rich successful businessman (both inherited and self-made wealth) in calculators. He came to Walter for advice regularly, including on his romantic relationship with Ike and his relationship with his sister Peggy who ran a failing dinner but refused his help. Reuben meant well and was generous but others found him too controlling. At the end of Act 1 Walter had counselled Reuben and Ike to an amicable separation to find distance in their relationship while staying in contact. Reuben later re-entered counselling in Act 3 after coming positive on the new aids test.

- Ike. A graphic designer who worked for Reuben and also lived with him. Broke the relationship out of a need for more personal space. Also counselling by Walter. In the backstory briefing Walter was also attracted to Ike and had some ‘unprofessional contact’ with him. Walter felt guilty over this and tried to do what was best for both Reuben and Ike (and managed to stay close friends with both as they broke up, which give him a conflict of interest to encourage the break up rather than support their relationship). Ike died at the end of Act 2.

- Claire & Barbara, who were in a steady lesbian relationship that became strained in act 1 (Claire wanted more ‘excitement’ and fetish which Barbara couldn’t give). Walter had a very long conversation with Barbara at the end of Act 1, and became their relationship therapist (forming a new core group in off-game terms); we played out a short therapy scene during the act break (in which they failed to be honest with each other). Walter also formed a professional relationship through Barbara with the cancer charity she worked for, counselling cancer patients as his ties to the gay scene faded. The relationship between them eventually ended when Barbara discovered Claire had been going to fetish clubs and had sex one time with Lawrence. (Walter had also been going to the not-just-gay fetish clubs by that point and recognised Claire from there and she recognised him, but they never told Barbara that). Claire and Barabara broke their relationship at the end of Act 2. Walter managed to keep them on some level of speaking terms (I think). Lawrence died at the end of Act 2. In downtime between Acts 2 and 3 Walter and Claire played together at clubs (but didn’t actually have sex. In that respect, Walter was repeating the same pattern as with Reuben/Ike) It also just happened that Claire had very similar hair to Beatrice, so Walter was projecting his attraction for Beatrice onto Claire. Both survived the game if I recall correctly.

- Gwen, Lester and Mikey. This one is complicated. Bored housewife Gwen (actually 36, but acting like a teenager) and her stockbroker husband Lester were both submissive and hired the young professional top Mikey (who had been kicked out the Cruisers club for being professional). They had their own internal conflicts with Mikey wanting to sever ties to them. At the end of act 2 Gwen arranged to see Walter under the false pretext of therapy, then had a rope play session which led to sex (using the phallus method). She then went to tell Mikey to make him jealous, and cut all contact with Walter. Mickey and his sister Sam confronted Walter the following morning. Sam tried to talk Mikey down after hearing Walter’s side of it, but Mikey went to ‘rough him up.’ However with twice the life experience on the young master Walter smashed a cup in his face and withdrew calling for help. Steve and the Cruisers club made plans to hunt Mikey down for attacking one of their own. Over the downtime between 2 and 3 Walter and Mikey met through Sam and talked it out. They built a new rapport over it when they realised how Gwen had manipulated them. Mikey was allowed to visit the club again (as guest rather than member). In Act 3 Andrew tried to get Walter to ‘see to’ his wife (the phrase ‘f*ck her straight’ was used at one point) as genital herpes prevented him from doing it himself, while she didn’t want to see him again at all.

- Evelyn. A medical doctor and cancer survivor who did work for the Red Cross in Africa. Got on well with Walter given their related professions and personality type in acts 1 and 2 as friends. In Act 3 after the green drink she went a lot further, including making out on the dance floor and eventually going to bed together. Walter and Evelyn had a 2-3 hour bedroom scene with a lot of pillow talk (her experience with cancer and Walter’s experience with Beatrice’s cancer, her concerns that her gay brother had sex at least once with an aids positive man, etc.) Walter started talking about whether this could be the start of a proper relationship. In his own mind he imagined leaving the fetish and gay scenes behind, marrying her and settling down into a safe middle-class relationship (aside from the swinging scene she was on) and having children (he was 42 by that point, so felt he needed to do it soon if he was ever going to). The fact Eveyln had been seducing other gay men previously (much to her brother’s annoyance) didn’t put him off. For her part, she wasn’t looking for that kind of relationship. We ended using the Phallus method which with so much build-up was really powerful, and kept to in-game pillow talk rather than a monologue. Its unclear how their relationship might have developed however, as his hopes for a happy ending where dashed at the close of act 3 when Eveyln died (presumably from her cancer coming back).

There is a lot more I could write – Walter had some other relationships to other patients, discussed various things with the gay senator Sinclair, making out (with meta-technique) with a guy on the dance floor), developed a play partner relationship (but didn’t go as far as the Phallus method with her in-game) with a tantric expert Joani and got involved with the hippy cures scene later on (while rejecting the more silly notions of it given his training), was on the edge of the Reuben-Peggy dynamic (and also connected as Beatrice worked for Peggy), took part in the initiation of Ike and Mr. T into the cruiser’s club (phallus method employed), cried during the Saratoga friendship pact as it reminded him of abandoning Beatrice, helped brain cancer survivor Thomas reinvent himself (and change his name to Tom).

I hope that’s been interesting.

I'd add none of these stories were pre-scripted (at least, on my part; I know some other players at the larp agreed fate play resolutions). I simply played the character and let things unfold organicly rather than worry about where the story arc was going.

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