Everyone has an opinion about the circus way of life but in 1927 that opinion was usually not a kind one. Members of a circus troupe often encountered hatred, racism and exclusion from the inhabitants of the towns they visited. Some of them even encountered social exclusion long before they joined the circus ranks.
In Cirque Noir we will explore both social exclusion from the outside world as well as within the circus ranks. We will not only explore the theme from a negative angle but also explore the positive effects exclusion can have on bringing people together. After all, Within the circus we are all up against one another, but when an outsider comes we will stand united as one.
Some parts of the circus life can be read as morally ambivalent. The circus has its own unique moral code as well as explicit and implicit social rules. Throughout the larp we try to reflect on this theme by bringing in a unique set of morals for each character. It is up to you as a player to see what side your character will be on during the game. Do they believe in the ‘’eye for an eye’’ punishment standard the circus holds on to. Or will they try to steer in a different direction?
Secrets are a huge part of Cirque Noir. Every character will get one during creation. It can be dark and haunting or slightly more light-hearted. However the way it comes out will define the further course of their life in some way or another. It is up to them to treat it with the necessary care; or will they buckle under its weight.
Cirque Noir is a larp which isn’t deeply rooted in one design tradition. We have taken design elements which we deemed most fitting for the story we wanted to tell and put them together in one game. You might recognize elements from different styles.
Cirque noir is a larp where collaborative storytelling is the number one goal. We encourage and facilitate calibration of play between participants through several tools which will be explained in a workshop before the game starts.
Cirque noir doesn’t have set skills or rules. Rules available help players to navigate their characters story in the most satisfying way.
Through Cirque Noir we seek to explore themes of community, family, morality and social exclusion. We deem the chosen era of the twenties an essential part of this story. It is however not a story about the world in 1927. It is primarily a story about people who choose or are forced to leave ‘’regular’’ society and create their own home. It is about their personal struggles as well of the struggle of the circus troupe as a whole.
In the circus you will encounter things that balance on the edge of the unknown. Maybe it is during a session with the fortune teller, maybe it’s a sudden waft of a long gone memory that haunts you or maybe the mechanical turk knows more about you then it should. We like to explore the grey area where people will start to doubt their own mind and senses.
All interaction with the ‘’grey area’’ will be through props, lights, sound and occasionally blackbox scenes.
Do not expect private rooms or luxury bathrooms when joining Cirque Noir. There will be shared (off-game) dorms as well as shared bathroom facilities. You can however expect top-notch food and a tent village suitable for performing and role-play; reflecting American travelling carnivals in the 1920s.
By picking a less luxurious location we can create a tent village while still keeping prices below 200 euros for players.