Playing society

Spring impressions. New beginnings. Or, in this case, an Easter party with friends. Where decapitation during a game of ‘playing society’ leads to reflecting on the Instagram generation.

“I am a musician.”
“Really? Wonderful. How did you become one? An independent musician, I mean.”
“I used work in the IT sector. But this is what I really wanted to do. So one day I decided: I am góing to do it.”
“That must have been quite the decision.”
“It was. And it was difficult, it has been a real struggle at times, especially in the beginning. But I have never regretted it.”

He looked like a boy. The kind of fresh face we associate with youth. Incredibly fast with words. One-liner after one-liner. But the truth was, he could be in his early or late twenties – or even in his thirties. And as it soon turned out, the musician couldn’t only sing, he was a great storyteller as well. The Easter Bunny in the center of the room was the first one to get decapitated. Then the real game began. Les Loups-garous de Thiercelieux, as it is originally called, but you might know it as The Werewolves of Millers Hollow. Besides man-boy there were another three male musicians present. As well an impressive female vocal trio. Three giggling redheads, in colourful, fifties inspired dresses. One of them was a trained psychologist. So was her husband. The second redhead was a doctor. I couldn’t remember what the third singer did – besides moving people with her voice. Next to me sat a Greek girl, a designer, who achieved a master of Arts. A woman in a very, very short dress with a matching haircut sat across from her; it was the wife of one of the musicians.

Society saving
I had never played Les Loups-garous de Thiercelieux, but I have always been up for anything that has anything to do with human knowledge and psychological insight. People often reveal a lot about themselves, as long as you observe carefully. They will even admit things, things you would expect them to hide – or at least share a better, more polished version of. So the prospect of observing a bunch of intelligent, creative human beings trying to fool each other in a game of society saving, made my day. After all, this is the era of Instagram. People are judging others more and quicker than ever. It only takes pressing one button, half of a second, maybe one, a swipe left or right, for a decision to be made. And here was this group of individuals, all online skillful, but all of them also consciously and continuously choosing real, face-to-face, interaction over online conversations many times. How well could they read one another? Surely these men and women would never be catfished, but would they figure out who the werewolves were before time would run out for the innocent villagers?

As expected, the debate was fierce. Interrupted exclusively by laughter volleys and a few musical interludes. Villagers were decapitated. During the second and third round villagers ánd werewolves were exposed and brought to death. The sixteen year old daughter of one of the musicians dropped by and participated. Her skirt was short like her mother’s, the hair longer – of course. Her insecurities were overshadowing her natural beauty. Arms crossed, shoulders slightly raised by tension. She was the easiest one to read. The psychologists reasoned like only psychologists can. With well formulated arguments. Spoken with raised voices, or presented as jokes. It was impressive, as if they knew it all. Short skirted mother was naive, and never quite really seemed to understand the rules of the game well enough to play it. Perhaps she was born just a few years too early. The male musicians started out strong, but their poker faces showed more emotions after their first game tactics became more clear for the rest of us. Much to my dissapointment, there weren’t any clear winners. Yes, in the end, the villagers survived the fourth game. But it was the result of luck, not of great human insight. Perhaps in a way it is what defines the Instagram generation. Whilst true human interaction is diminishing, those perfectly airbrushed lives are young people’s reality, bringing both sadness and hope. Boys and girls are struggling to live up to their self created, unrealistic versions of perfection. But if things don’t work out, there is always that opportunity of reinvention. Of starting all over again. A new day, a new internet profile, and another chance at luck.

Text: Gwen Teo

Copyright 2020 the complex society – Teomedia



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