Dr. Manticore Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Harold

There is often a tension in forms of adhering to their structure and deviating from that structure out of a sense that it would better serve the piece. It’s a tension that I’ve long felt, and until a few months ago, I tended to break from structure. My biggest gripe with structure was the Harold, where it felt like the structure of the Harold often got in the way.

The result of this thinking was to push in a direction away from structure. In some cases, this worked really well, and it emboldened me to break with structure more often. This slow removal of rules felt like the right direction to push the Harold until a set my team did in June as part of a variety show. While the set had fun elements of play, overall it felt highly entropic and confused, and the conversation with the team afterwards expressed it well:

“We went scenic in our opening, folks, like the part with the drones!”

“I thought the part with the drones was the first scene!”

“I thought the part with the drones was the second scene!”

By thwarting the rules of structure in the Harold we had set out to perform, there had been insufficient scaffolding in the set to allow everyone to get on the same page, and the end result was a confused set.

It wasn’t too long after this that for Harold Night, we decided to try out a gibberish Harold. This Manticore form has the head of a gibberish game and the body of a Harold. By layering the additional rules of the gibberish game, the structure of the Harold became even more important for us to stay on the same page, providing a concrete example of how structure could help us. Manticore forms and their cousins Chimera, Sphinx, and Lamassu have been paying regular visits to our Harold practices since, helping me recognize how versatile the Harold can be.

It turns out that breaking from the Harold structure can be thought of as a Manticore form, as well: the head of a Montage and the body of a Harold.

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