This weekend is our new game, The Focal Point, for the State Library of Victoria, a story telling game for all ages in which players help trapped echoes of the library deliver lost messages between each other across the decades. When we were designing the characters one of our game runners, Madeline Anderson, who was also in The Whispering Society, came to us with a story that one of the players had told her. She was so moved by his story that she wanted to base her character on it. We asked Madeline to share the story with you…

Madeline hears a story from a player

At about 1am, after 4 hours of constant stories being told and players trying to prove their worth to join “The Whispering Society”, a man in his seventies stumbled upon Pop Up Playground’s game and decided to play. Part of the game involved players taking photos with their smart phones of spirits that were trapped in objects of habit etc. They would then approach the actor and tell the story the spirit. If they proved their worth to all of the actors, they could become a member of the society. This lovely gentleman approached me and said that he did not have a smart phone to capture the spirit, but whether or not he could he show it to me. He turned my attention to the beautiful gold embellishment on the balcony and pillars of the Queen’s Hall and told me the story of the weeping war widow:

There was a woman who stood on the balcony of the Queen’s Hall, and waved to her husband as he stood amongst the other soldiers going off to war. The couple shared a smile and nodded to each other, her asking him to be safe, he promising he would return. Amongst the chaos and noise, she wept. She cried and cried and cried and could not stop. The soldiers left the Queen’s Hall and she stayed on the balcony until all the other women and children returned home. Every year on the anniversary of that day, she returned to the place where she had waved goodbye to her husband, and she would stand and cry and wonder what in the heavens had happened to her husband. Was he alive? Was he dead? Would he come home? Had he fallen for another woman at war?

She never saw her husband again. Year after year she returned to that place, until she died of sadness. Her spirit then became trapped in the tears that fell down the pillars. When she died her tears became the gold embellishment of the library.

The man told me this to prove his worth to become a part of “The Whispering Society”. It was the most beautiful story of the night, and he was more than worthy of joining our secret society.

We thought it was an amazing story, and have incorporated it into The Focal Point. So on Sunday come find Lorna Wilson, The War Widow, and help her find out the truth about her husband.

But if you’re in the Library at any time, look up at the gold embellishments and think of the weeping widow and her lonely and ultimately futile wait for her husband to return to her arms.