Putting on the old LARP boots

After two decades of avoiding LARPs, I signed up on a whim to Seaside Prison, a LARP about the life of two families in occupied Åland. It was a black box LARP, so there was no preparation needed, which was nice.

To add to the experience of living under occupation, one of the players was from Gaza, and the LARP was mirroring many things that regular people in Palestine are experiencing daily.

It was a harrowing experience to say the least. My family suffered two big losses: My character lost a daughter and a niece in what could only be described as random acts of violence. Perhaps thanks to my late losses, it was frighteningly easy to feel the death of two fictional characters weighing heavily on my shoulders the rest of the game. But there was also laughter, and a wedding and dancing and chess. And watching the sea and small moments of togetherness.

But this game was some seriously heavy shit. As a co-player put it as "it feels somehow wrong to enjoy such a haunting game." I don't know if it is wrong, but I did thoroughly enjoy it, even if it ended up being a bit of a cathartic experience. Tears might have been real, but the deaths were not, and we did all sit down and enjoy a beer afterwards.

Thinking back, it's actually really rare to get five hours of uninterrupted time for yourself these days. Even on the best of days, usually you at least glance your cell phone every hour, but today we were completely offline, and just played together. I'm starting to remember why I like LARPing. Not because it's escapist, but because of the way you can investigate and explore new ideas, new places, new situations and your own self in a safe, immersive way. In a way, that actually sounds much like what I would describe my ideal job - the joy of discovery without interruption.

Anyway, will play again. It has really been too long.

"Come with me tonight so that we might make tonight a shared past, says the one afflicted with longing. I will come with you to make a shared tomorrow, says the one afflicted with love. She does not love the past and wants to forget the war that has ended. He fears tomorrow, because the war has not ended and he does not want to grow older."

- Mahmoud Darwish-محمود درويش, In the Presence of Absence




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"Main_blogentry_170622_1" last changed on 17-Jun-2022 00:56:19 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

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