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Why is Elysian Fields a Larp?

One of the reasons I love live-action roleplaying is because it’s the only kind of event where you get to take a vacation from yourself. You get to actually experience a point of view that isn’t your own, in a way that no other medium allows. You’re there. It’s happening to you. Even though it’s play, and you can step out at any time, there is no screen or proscenium separating you from the action. It’s why the dialogue or the costumes don’t have to be perfect. It’s in front of you, and it’s another human being reacting to you directly. I feel like this allows us to experience things in a way that no other art-form allows, and it’s what is so exciting to me about Live-Action Roleplaying.


I think a lot about how so many things in our world seem impossible to change, until they do. How does that happen? How do we change the rules of society? How do we change our feelings towards certain ideas? How do we free ourselves from the demands of society that are holding us back, when those demands are so ingrained in ourselves that they’ve become our own voice in our head? That’s the question I’m trying to ask with Elysian Revel.


I chose the 1920’s not only for the aesthetic, but because it is a fascinating moment in history. It was a moment of huge social change, it was the first time in American history that more people were living in cities than in rural areas. It was a time of intense patriarchal hierarchy, sexual repression and an incredibly oppressive society. The 19th century idea of class and social standing was still incredibly prevalent. And yet, against that backdrop you had a nation that imposed a ban on drinking, turning everyone who would have a drink into someone who was willing to go against the stated law in society. A nation of "Scoff-laws" as the Ken Burns documentary on prohibition put it.


I chose this backdrop because of its ability to heighten so many simple things. With much of 1920's society still stuck in a 19th century mindset, the simplest actions can start to feel like a joyous rebellion against an oppressive society. You're already breaking the law having a drink, why not dance with someone you aren't supposed to? Becoming friends with someone you weren’t supposed to becomes a radical act. "Bobbing" your hair becomes an act of defiance against the past. Hemming your dress above the knees becomes liberation. Finding common ground with someone when you thought you were alone becomes a joyous reunion with a family you never knew you had. Simply hearing a poem can become a revolution in your heart, from which you can never be the same afterwards.


I hope that you join us in creating moments of feeling of ‘anything is possible’, so that we can bring that very real sense memory of it back into our own lives. We take this night and pretend to be artists, dreamers, hustlers, and hedonists. And perhaps, we will be little bit more inspired to take new opportunities, have new experiences, find our muses, and share our dreams.


-Joseph

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