Sweet home Alabama – Making fun serious

Danish Live action roleplaying game Sweet Home Alabama entertains Danes and internationals in July 2013 in Denmark. Organizer Kasper Brandt presents the LARP for LOKI:

Imagine a small town in Alabama, south-state USA. Let us call it Hicksville.

Imagine now that Hicksville is everything you’ve ever heard about redneck and white trash stereotypes. Imagine a small town, of 100 rednecks, during the annual farmer’s expo, where families gather and intrigues blossom. Spice this up with illiteracy, incest, religious fanaticism, racism, violence, alcohol and banjos.

You get the idea.

Sweet Home Alabama is a 5-day LARP in July 2013, Denmark, where the participants assume the role of the stereotypical redneck, complete with speaking disorders, violent fear towards the unknown and siblings, who also act as wives and husbands.

The LARP in itself is a sandbox game, but with a lot of events, such as shotgun weddings, BB gun-marksmanship competitions, redneck invention challenges and performances. Overall, the lingo will be in south-state accented American English.

A Red-a-what-now?
While Sweet Home Alabama is first and foremost supposed to be a comedy-LARP, sustaining the humorous nature of rednecks for a whole LARP, without getting into depths with this stereotype, would be an opportunity missed.

To understand and to play a redneck in Sweet Home Alabama, one must understand the nature of the stereotype. Rednecks are illiterate, inbred and oblivious to outside world. They are often portrayed with bad hygiene, missing teeth and a serious drinking problem. Originally, rednecks are called so, because of the red sunburns these poor south-state farmers would have on their necks, after hours of working in the direct sunlight. Today, “redneck” applies to descendants of these farmers and share similarities with “white trash” and “trailer trash”. The term is mainly subject to jokes, like so:

Why is it impossible to solve a redneck murder?
1. There are no dental records
2. The DNA is all the same

The problems at hand
The LARP is about portraying a village made around the redneck stereotype, complete with illiteracy, incest, violence, abuse, fear and hatred. As organizers, we want to create an example of how deep a secluded human society can fall, when not educated.

But these problems are not specific to rednecks. These problems are present, globally.
We want this society to represent every slum, every isolated, poor village and community that share its similarities, and by experiencing it on her own, the player will hopefully experience some of the impacts that illiteracy and ignorance has on the individual, and what twisted morals forces her to do.

Why make fun of it?
Does it seem distant to laugh at other’s misfortune? Only a few lines of text ago, I told you a joke, where you, if not laughed, at least smiled. If neither, then we apologize for our bad taste.

Every day, we laugh. We laugh at jokes, at comics, but certainly also at other people’s misfortune. Humor helps us to distance ourselves from bad things, so we can go on with our lives, without worrying about every bad thing that happens in the world.

Humor also works as a reminder. The human mind remembers good things over bad things, so technically, if the joke is good, you remember it.

The question asked was then; if you let a player have a fun experience with poverty and abuse, will the lesson stick?

Sweet Home Alabama is an experiment towards making fun of serious matters, hopefully teaching a lesson about what society can fall to.

Worst case, it will still be fun!

I want to know more!
As of now, we mainly operate on our facebookpage (facebook.com/sweethomealabama.larp), but intend to launch a website in near future.

Tickets will be sold at rollespilsbasen.dk, starting in February 2013. Price will approx. be at 400 DKK (54 EUR).

We hope to see you!
Kasper Brandt
Sweet Home Alabama
facebook.com/sweethomealabama.larp

Toimituksen kommentti: Tanskalainen larppeihin ilmoittautumiskäytöntä eroaa yleensä Suomessa totutusta käytännöstä. Tanskassa useimmiten peliin ostetaan lippu lippupalvelusta ja erillistä ilmoittautumislomaketta toivemahdollisuuksineen jne ei ole. Peli täytetään ilmoittautumisjärjestyksessä, ja jos perut, et saa rahojasi takaisin, ellet myy lippuasi eteenpäin (lipulle löytyy yleensä aina ostaja, sillä peleihin haluaa useampi kuin paikkoja löytyy). Hahmot peleihin luodaan usein workshopein yhdessä muiden pelaajien ja pelinjohdon kanssa.

Keskustelua Pelilaudalla – http://pelilauta.fi/index.php/topic,941.0.html

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