LLOYD THE CONQUEROR
LLOYD CAME, LARPED, CONQUERED
by Ariel Esteban Cayer
Ever since shows like The Big Bang Theory hit big in 2007, so-called fandom, geek culture or “geekdom” in popular entertainment has become somewhat of a commodity. Sure, we’ve always had the stock “nerd” or “geek” character in any ensemble high school movie, but rarely, until recently, have ensemble works wholly depicted, let alone celebrated, these fringe elements of society – at least on a level that appeals to most mainstream audiences. In any case, it’s been a slow climb and while Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and The Wizard (1989) certainly helped, nerds and geeks (as much as I dislike the terms and always fail to see the distinction between the two) have just recently entered the pop culture “mainstream”, be it through films like Superbad (2007) or Fanboys (2009), more recently. And despite it all, perhaps of all “geek” disciplines, LARPing – otherwise known, in full, as Live-Action Role Playing – has remained one of the least represented. Since Fantasia’s always been about celebrating geekness in its most beautifully varied declinations, we’re proud to say that those days…are finally over.
Following Role Models (2008), which saw Sean William Scott and Paul Rudd having to deal with the world of LARPing in a humorous way, and The Wild Hunt (2009), which tackled the subject in a much less funny fashion, comes the Canadian wonder that is Lloyd the Conqueror, assembling some top comedy talents to interpret Michael Peterson and Andrew Herman’s brilliantly comedic script. When titular community college slacker Lloyd (Evan Williams, which you might know and love if you have kept watching Degrassi into The Next Generation) and his two buddies Patrick and Oswald (Jesse Reid and Scott Patty) are faced with losing their financial aid if they do not pass their Medieval Lit class, they soon have no choice but to enroll in the local LARPing championship. See, their teacher Derek (Mike “Trailer Park Boys’ Bubbles” Smith, proving here to be a deliciously sinister and hilarious villain) is a LARPing tyrant and the only way he can maintain his place on the pretend throne of role-playing is if there is a championship at all! Participation is running low, thus Derek gets Lloyd and his two buddies to enroll, and in addition, taunts them to win the LARPing championship in order to get straight As – and effectively pass the course. Thus begins this celebration of the still quite obscure discipline (sport?) of live-action role playing, a game too often looked down at and that is finally given the respect, reverence and compliments it deserves through comedy. Falling under the tutelage of Andy “The White Wizard” (Brian Posehn, seen in “The Sarah Silverman” show), our trio of heroes — soon to be joined by ass-kicking self-defense instructor Cassandra (Tegan Moss, who – trivia points! – was the young Dana Scully in The X-Files’ stunning 2nd season abduction story arc, specifically in the episode “One Breath”) quickly learn everything there is to know about LARPing – from the importance of a costume to the intricacies of throwing spells with aluminum foil. Stand-up comedian Darcy Michael, David Lawrence (of Fubar) and Harland Williams (of Half Baked) also make an appearance, but as if that wasn’t enough Can-con awesome already, Peterson has rounded up some serious hard-rockin’ bands for Lloyd the Conqueror’s soundtrack, in the form of bands such as 3 Inches of Blood, Barn Burner, C’mon, Bison B.C., Trigger Effect.
See loveable nerds LARP to the sound of heavy riffs on Sunday the 22nd at the Hall Theater, hosted by Michael Peterson, producer Brendan Hunter and Mike Smith himself! And keep the party going at the Lloyd the Conqueror/Heavy Metal After-Party, held at Piranha Bar, 680 St-Catherine Street.