Usually, our live events have a core of people who know us: people who’ve been to a Sandpit or a Weekender before, people who like games, people who know a little about what to expect. Of course they’re often outnumbered by newcomers and passers-by and people who saw the brochure lying around and didn’t have anything else to do, but the familiar core is still there. On 1 January, though, our audience was people who were wandering around Edinburgh: residents out for a walk; visitors who’d come up for Hogmanay and couldn’t leave because the trains weren’t running yet; people with hangovers; wandering families. People who are almost guaranteed not to be reading this blog post. We weren’t really sure how many of them to expect. It turned out there were quite a lot.
It was a silly big game and hundreds of people were involved in making it work, on the day and in the months before: stewards and producers and drummers and actors and guys who put up Helter Skelters and Heads of Games and a samba band and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh and a poet and people on New Year’s Eve stapling sheets of cardboard at 9pm or printing out stickers at 4:30am. I’ve been trying to write it up and it’s just too big, there’s too much of it. But I can at least write down some of the things I want to remember for next time.
Hinterland – a game that turns into a poem, or a game about cities and language, or possibly a poem that you play – was a modest success, I think. We had 227 players in total, of whom 72 made it past Canto 1, and nine hardy, wonderful players made it all the way to the top of Calton Hill and the conclusion of Canto 4.
With just a week to go before the Hinterland opens up at Forest Fringe in Edinburgh, I wanted to look back briefly on the genesis of the project.