Breath of God Church: Scene of a ‘Fiasco’

Canton Games is partnering with the Baltimore Improv group for a special show at Breath of God Lutheran Church, tonight and tomorrow night. - Photos by Erik Zygmont

Canton Games is partnering with the Baltimore Improv group for a special show at Breath of God Lutheran Church, tonight and tomorrow night. – Photos by Erik Zygmont

Looking for something to do tonight or tomorrow?

There’s nothing like sitting in a church, watching people play a game.

In this case, the game and the players–even the church–are extraordinary, and the event is all about entertainment.

The game is “Fiasco,” a role-playing game developed by Jason Morningstar and published by Bully Pulpit Games. According to bullypulpitgames.com, game players portray “ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control.”

Who is better to play these characters, then, than the improvisational actors of BIG–Baltimore Improv Group.

“The first time I ever played Fiasco,” said Jason Braswell, the BIG member coordinating the show, “I said, ‘We need to get improvisers up on their feet to play this.'”

Tonight and tomorrow night, 7:30 p.m., his vision becomes a reality at Breath of God Lutheran Church, 141 S. Clinton St. in Highlandtown.

For the event, BIG is partnering with Canton Games, a remarkable brick-and-mortar game shop which stocks “Fiasco.” Canton Games is at 2201 Essex St., at Fleet St.

Braswell said that the shop will be selling its wares at the show, and “they’ll send us a couple people we normally wouldn’t have [at our shows], and we’ll ask them to check out our website.”

Braswell describes the game as a series improbable scenarios and relationships, determined by dice rolls, that must be acted out.

One scene may be set, Braswell said, as two people with three relationships–romantic, church and crime. For the example, he described a husband and wife; he’s a Sunday-school teacher, and she’s a minister. Their romantic and church relationships are now accounted for.

For their crime relationship, Braswell said that they could both be petty thieves.

“In one scene, she’s showing her husband the baby she had stolen,” Braswell said, explaining, “The presence of the baby was determined by a roll of the dice.”

“In another scene, she’s showing this holier-than-thou attitude at church,” Braswell continued.

The funny thing about “Fiasco” is that it requires more improvisation than the average person is accustomed to, but it has more structure than the average improvisor is accustomed to.

Daniel Friedman, a new member of BIG who lives very close to Breath of God, said that, though the game may be unconventional, it can be “won.”

“In the end, there will be someone who comes up on top over the others,” he said.

The problem, according to Braswell, is that efforts at winning often don’t pay off.

“The first time I played it, I wanted to win–whatever that meant for me,” he said. “I was always trying to get the upper hand in scenes, but it always ended horribly for me.”

by Erik Zygmont
editor@baltimoreguide.com

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