One Shot: Stacy Callaghan

Character: Stacy Callaghan the Caretaker
Game: Saving Sunshine by Krissy Bullock
Episodes: 1
Theme Song: Wide Awake by Katy Perry
Keywords: unqualified, judgemental, overwhelmed

If you haven't heard, I have a doppleganger. Her name is Krissy Bullock and she is, by far, one of the most wonderful people I've had the lovely chance of meeting. If this were an urban fantasy story, she would definitely be the good dopplganger and I the evil one.

But it isn't, so fortunately, we can both be lovely people and exist in Canada at the same time. Krissy is also marvellous because she wrote a larp before she knew larps were a thing. Saving Sunshine is a game about a group of people of varying levels of qualification and involvement deciding whether or not Sunshine, an up and coming young starlet, should receive an experimental, expensive treatment for a fatal rare disease.

You play one of the panel members who are making this decision. I was Stacy Callaghan, a once child-star who was washed up and had been hired by Sunshine's agent to take care of Sunshine, as Sunshine was a ward of the state. When I was designing her, I had in mind that Stacy wanted Sunshine to leave behind a life of child acting, because she knew what followed and how hard life was for those who managed to struggle through. She didn't want her life or any other washed up child star's life to be Sunshine's story.

Knowing this, I also knew that Stacy had a passing interest in religion, but only barely, and had a real problem with the way people always talked down to her. Whether it was because she was a child actor for a long time, or she was strung out for awhile, or because she was a washed out has been, Stacy didn't care anymore. People didn't like her.

While she felt that keenly, she mostly focused on trying to be the friend of those child actors that the agent hired her to look after. She didn't see herself ever as a foster mother, rather, the person who could 'get it' and still be the friend. As questions were asked about Sunshine, Stacy answered as best she could considering she was speaking from the perspective of a friend, not a mother.

I wanted to play a more demure character. Someone who was more accustomed to being in the background, pushed around, and treated like an invalid person. I think I pulled that off, as when she was interrupted, which was often enough, she would just take it. She liked people who paid attention to her and didn't like people who dismissed her. This meant she didn't like most people.

Her system of like to dislike was simple and I got it really quickly that she saw the world in pretty black and white terms. Big questions weren't things she cared about. She worked, she took care of Sunshine, and she had a few hobbies that kept her busy enough. Stacy had a quiet life except that her past had been pretty intense and made her quieter life feel safe.

The challenge I had chosen with this character was choosing someone as a guardian who didn't have a vested interest necessarily in Sunshine. It was hard to detach myself from the care of a youth, but there was definitely a feeling of disinterest and frustration in Stacy I haven't been quite able to pin. I think she felt like it was suddenly a huge responsibility and that's not what she had signed on for. That, and the sudden news of Sunshine's disease had meant people calling and wanting interviews and that whole shit show starting again. Stacy just wanted it to be over.

And she didn't want to watch Sunshine suffer anymore. She didn't know what to do with a dying person and it made her feel awkward and weird. Uncomfortable. It wasn't something she wanted to ever feel and now here she was, remembering when her mother had OD'd and died, and left her as a ward of the state as well. There was a lot of backstory that didn't come up for Stacy, but I knew enough that the whole situation made her uncomfortable and she just wanted out.

I wouldn't play her again. There was a lot going on and overall, I walked away feeling internally bruised from the process of what we were doing. The game was intense and Stacy voted to not treat her ward, mostly because she new Sunshine didn't want to suffer anymore.

I would play a caregiver again. I want to. That was interesting and I liked the conflicting emotions. I dug it.


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