Live Action Role Play (LARP) has always been seen as the escapist’s dream.It is a way to escape the real world for just a few hours or days. But, what are we escaping from? Is it a job? A boring life? What if instead, you ran full throttle at the world’s problems?

What if your LARP aimed to take seriously real life events and bring them into a fictional world?  How would you react?

Meet Odyssé, a Nordic LARP production company, which aims to breathe life into interactive stories and experiences through participatory culture. Much like traditional LARPs, Odyssé uses plot hooks, NPC (non-player characters), and player characters, but they delve deeper into guided stories. Think of it as a combination of LARP and a play, somethings are fated to happen but how will you react to them? Their goal?  They want to evoke a “deep emotional response,” whether it is good or bad.

Their latest project is called Inside Hamlet. Here, participants are courtiers of the famous Castle Elsinor (yes, you really get to go there), during the reign of King Claudius. Over three days, players are within the confines of Elsinor as the country falls to shambles.

They ignore the outside world and delve deeper into debauchery and decadence. What happens in Elsinor, stays in Elsinor. How will you react as a courtier or a citizen, proverbially trapped within this castle? How will you act, knowing that there is a very real end for all of these characters?

But how does Hamlet and Nordic LARP translate into real life? Well, Odyssé invites you to take the idea even further. You are now one of the leaders during the tense hours of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

You are now a Danish soldier in Afghanistan.

These are interactive tools to teach children how to understand history and the world around them on a deeper level, then just from a book.

Then, they invite you to go deeper: an HIV/AIDS positive patient during the ’80s, a refuge of a foreign war, and experience terrorism on a personal level.

What if a LARP could bring the distant corners of the world to you? How would you react? Would this change your views of what is going on outside your home? Odyssé “aims to create a different perspective on world events from mainstream media.”

While Odyssé has hosted a few events in Europe, they are looking to expand their presence with a United States venue soon. Please check them out at Inside Hamlet or Odyssé.

Cecilia Dolk @frkgeek for quotes