the phases of an experience for play sparking change

rough notes so far

the experience starts when you first hear about it, only ends if and when you stop thinking and talking about it

advance
– what happens in advance of play, from the moment of first hearing
– anticipation and expectations are in play, and a decision of: is this for me?
– also the practicalities of what do I need to do to get ready and get there

arrival
– arriving at the playspace, a bit like being in the theatre bar

opening
– wherever this happens, it’s about opening up what the experience is going to be
– it might include a briefing, warm-up, even training or a tutorial
– it might include space and structures for the playing audience to speak, or other ways for them to contribute or co-set the direction of play
– it might include space and structures for the playing audience to reflect, or other ways for them to be primed for the experience

framing
– our play may be framed by a fiction, it begins whenever it does
– or the play is held by facillitation
– or there’s a magic circle that players choose together to step inside

playout
– the play experience can be singular, or could be plural: many smaller games and other pieces of play held by the frame and facilitation
– the advantage of the plural approach is that it’s easier to present simpler games which are more immediate to play and together make a more complex experience
– a singular piece of play, if it’s a complex system, will take longer to brief and train a playing audience

reflection
– reflection is how we make meaning
– it happens organically anyway, although never when we are in the flow of play
– space can be left for it to happen organically, especially in the aftermath of play
– but it can also be designed or facilitated, and integrated into the playout

aftermath
– when the playout is over
– we might need to hold space to debrief or decompress, depending on the intensity of the experience
– or let the audience back into a free space like the theatre bar to chat and froth between each other
– reflection might happen
– and maybe an insight – some specific reflection that resonates or is significant, and which might be a starting-point for change
– maybe we’ll make a resolution that we’ll act on later

tail
what happens afterwards
– it’s possible that through serendipity or design, a playing audience is reminded of their playing experience, and something happens
– maybe they see someone they met, or pick up a programme, or re-visit a site

resolution -> change
– it may happen organically
– or can be facilitated and coached – there are many barriers to change
– but personal change can only happen with you, in the direction you want to take; perhaps something that was set in the opening

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