Remember when you were a kid and played pretend with the neighborhood kids? Maybe you were superwoman, a ghoul, or even a prince. Whatever role you played, it was definitely fun embodying a character that lived in your mind and making it a reality.
Most adults lose this ability to connect through role-playing. However, Bait Byout, a Palestinian non-profit organization adopted a community called LARP that attempts to create a space for role-playing. LARP is an acronym for Live-Action Role-Playing. Basically, LARP is a tool that creates a space for both adults and children to create stories and act them out with other participants.
Each LARPer is assigned a certain role along with the character’s description. No script is handed. Instead, the story is created along with the role-playing with the other LARPers.
What makes LARP special:
LARP is an experience and no two LARP stories are the same. By joining the LARP community, you can “play whatever you want, wherever you want.”
LARP has been used as a tool to bridge gaps within the Palestinian society and outside of Palestine. Within the Palestinain society, LARP has acted as a non-physical platform in which adults and children have been gifted the chance to interact with others creatively. For six years, LARPers have engaged with the Palestinian public in educational environments such as schools and even more unstable environments such as refugee camps. The stories played out are entertaining and educational. Such stories include children becoming animals to fighting oppressive lions with magical water balloons, or adults becoming tribe members of Jericho 3,000 years ago and act out dance battles to solve disputes.
LARP can also be used as a means of connecting cultures: a LARP wedding was played out between a Palestinian woman and a Norwegian man. In this LARP wedding, a Palestinian wedding ceremony was conducted which included cultural practices of a bride’s henna, and dabka dance.
Outside of Palestine, Palestinian and Finnish LARPers acted out a story of occupied Finland as a means of experiencing life under occupation in the most ethical way possible.
Want to learn more about LARP and LARPing in Palestine? Check out “Birth of Larp in the Arab World” for Bait Byout’s LARP projects both in Arabic and English! Also, don’t forget to support Bait Byout’s LARP by volunteering or by lending a hand via crowdfunding which is under BuildPalestine’s campaign.Make LARPers smile 🙂