An Evening With Clarence

A Light Entertainment for Six to Twelve Gay Couples

In 1903 the first LARP ever - "An Evening With Clarence, an Entertainment for Six to Twelve Gay Couples" - premiered at the Cleveland Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, in 2003, an intrepid group of historical reenacters assembles to celebrate and recreate this auspicious anniversary.

If you've heard of Clarence at all, of course, you haven't heard of this game. You've heard of the popular 1928 Mikhail Jung production, which continued to be produced well into the 1950s. Unfortunately, everything you remember is probably wrong, since Jung fundamentally rewrote the entire game, making it playable in the meantime.

In many ways, "Clarence" is a testament to the stoicism, and determination of early LARPers, who faced with a game that was more or less an imbecilic mishmash of mismatched parts, nevertheless forged ahead and made a LARP out of it.

It is also a testament to the fact that, before the days of Radio, people had a good bit of time on their hands.

The Book

All the players in "Clarence" receive a book containing the entire game beforehand. The last time this game was run before we got our hands on it was in 2003, and the book itself was in formats that were, well, appropriate for that time period.

Using a combination of Adobe Photoshop 5, CorelDraw 10, a scanner, a rare print copy of the original book (generously lent by Tim Lasko), and way the hell too much free time, Nat was able to produce a modern PDF verson of the book, which you can download for free, or buy a nicely bound paperback of, for the low low price of a measly 6 bucks, at Lulu.com.

Photos

Awesome photography by Elizabeth Gifford Sachs. Non-awesome photography omitted.

  • Written by Gordon and Stephanie Olmstead-Dean
  • Lovingly restored by Nat Budin
  • Run by Nat Budin and Kate Fractal