In 2018 all participants of Professor Louise Abrahamsen's couples therapy retreat disappeared without a trace. The case was never solved but in spiritual circles it was whispered that the professor had stumbled into the kingdom of the Great God Pan by mistake.
This is the story of what happened.
PAN is a larp about personal horror set in current times. You sign up together with another participant and dive into madness. You will portray couples trying to save their relationship through exclusive methods developed by the therapists to make you connect with your partner. But something goes wrong and you descend into madness.
The larp is played at a luxury summer house in the countryside of Denmark and is for 16 participants. The larp is played in English.
The World of Pan
A group of very different couples, who all have troubles in their relationships, have signed up for a couples therapy weekend in the countryside. Here they will work on their relationships and themselves.
The two celebrity therapists Louise and Michael Abrahamsen work with classic methods like group discussions and exercises, but also with more esoteric methods like contacting dead relatives and diving into past lives. You are participating in the hope of rekindling the spark in your relationship and to gain a higher knowledge of yourself and your partner.
The group has been put together by the therapists to create both synergies and conflict amongst the different couples. This unique method is designed to open the eyes of the couples for what is the core in their relationship, and through this new insight create a stronger bond to their partner.
The program for the therapy weekend will be exciting and hard. Old wounds will be ripped open to make you stronger. You have prepared yourself for it being hard but rewarding. You will learn a lot about yourself and your partner, and hopefully leave the retreat closer and more in love.
PAN is a larp about personal horror and what happens when a group descends into desire and madness together.
As a participant you will portray a person that, together with their partner, have gone to a retreat to work on your relationship with two celebrity therapists known from television. During the retreat they will work with their partner and the group to better their relationship, get a few days away from the daily grind and hopefully gain personal insight. For some of the couples this is their last hope for staying together. For others it is a spice in their experimental lifestyle.
But the weekend will not end as intended. Something goes wrong in one of the seances and somehow the Great God Pan slips through to this realm. Slowly everybody succumbs the the piping of Pan.
A larp about personal horror
A larp with the themes: terror, lust, desire, power and loss of control
A larp about unethical therapy
A larp set in contemporary day
You should participate in PAN if:
You want to explore personal horror and make yourself and others afraid
You want to play intense and mature role-play in a safe environment
You want to explore a difficult genre like horror and see where it can take you and your fellow players
The larp is played in a very physical style where dancing is dancing and fighting looks real. Real alcohol will be served, but players deemed too intoxicated to participate responsibly will be removed from play.
All genders, sexualities and bodies are invited to act wicked and be beautiful at this larp. During play you are likely to become witness to nudity, public displays of affection and sexuality, simulated but realistic-looking sex, and violence.
A good minimum comfort level for participation is for you to hug a stranger tightly and maybe kiss them on the mouth. But whether gentle intimacy, portrayed lust or pretend violence, you will always have full control of your own body and of the story you are telling. You always choose who to touch and control who touches you. You can always leave any situation and step outside the play area to take a break from the fiction as needed.
These are themes and actions that might happen at the larp. You can always opt out participating in a scene, but expect to see others engaging with these themes. You can view this list as trigger warnings or content warnings.
Possession, which means non-consensual character actions. The participant always has control over their actions
Participating in therapy, both in groups, pairs and alone
Sensual and sexual play across genders
Very physical play, including theatre style sex simulation "dry humping"
Violent outbursts, face slapping
Play on abortion and impregnation
Contacting the dead
These themes and actions you can NOT out from during the larp:
Playing in a small location without any dedicated out of character area
Sleeping in a queen size bed with another participant
Helping out in the kitchen, preparing food, collecting dishes
How does the horror work at PAN?
As a participant at PAN will not see any special effects or monsters suddenly appearing out of nowhere. We will work with a possession mechanic that can create scary, disturbing and terrifying scenes. The goal is to be afraid! Afraid of the potential we all have as human beings to be selfish, devious, horrible and evil.
We aim for your character to realize that the thin veil between our reality and the other side can be broken. Even the smallest glimpse into that horrible and unnamable place will ruin something inside them forever. And when they realize this, they will have no other choice than to dance to the pipes of a strange and terrifying God.
Participation in the Larp
You sign up to the larp with a fellow participant and you will be cast as a couple. You will sleep in the same room with your co-participant and might share a double bed. In the beginning of the larp, most of your time will be used together with this person. We recommend you meet up with your co-participant before the larp and discuss how your characters' relationship works. We will not have too much time at the workshop for this.
PAN, Possession and Desire
A big part of PAN is the possession mechanic. Your character will be possessed by the aspects of the Great God Pan. These aspects are lust, desire, pleasure and selfish indulgence; gluttony, sleep, sex, passion, closeness, control, curiosity, the twisted, and the weird. You as a participant have to be ready to play on these elements in a mature and sensible way. If you are not interested in elements of sensual and passionate play, you should not play this larp. As a participant at PAN, you should also expect to witness nudity and violent behaviour.
It is important for us that you understand that PAN is not a larp with the theme of sex or sensual play at the forefront. Those things are very much present, but they are means to an end. The workshop will cover how to portray lust, passion, power, desire and selfish enjoyment, not only physically, but also intellectually. We will work with how the themes can be forces that create beauty, but also very destructive and devoid of good.
You will of course set your own limits for how you want to play. We expect you to take control and steer a scene in a direction where you feel comfortable and safe. When it comes to exploring the larp's themes with other players, we have a simple but effective rule set. You will be able to fluently and clearly communicate your limits and set the intensity of play towards yourself, without breaking the flow of play. You will use a set of distinct code phrases and hand signals to signal that you would like to step up, level out, or decrease the intensity of play directed at you. We will workshop this before the larp.
The Characters and the Pantheons of Gods
All characters are under the light of a deity. The aspects and moods that the deity represents inspires your character and her decisions. The deity does not dictate all of your character's decisions, but colours their choices. If they are under the light of Zeus, they are probably more demanding and decisive than if they were under the light of Aphrodite. The gods we use in PAN are the Olympian gods.
The main inspiration for PAN, and also the second larp is this series, BAPHOMET, is the wonderful short story The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen from 1890. In this story nature is a chaotic being that, in the eyes of man, is evil and malicious. This idea is also present in Lars von Trier's movie Antichrist.
Here is a small excerpt from The Great God Pan that describes the world of PAN and BAPHOMET larps quite well:
We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing.
It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current.
Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale.
But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form. Oh, Austin, how can it be? How is it that the very sunlight does not turn to blackness before this thing, the hard earth melt and boil beneath such a burden?