The start of Reenactment in Sweden, and Reboot of Nationalism

When in 1992 the idea of taking role-play fantasies into live action roleplaying on a national scale was played out through the swedish event "Trenne Byar" [Three Villages] there was no common way to present such an idea. There was no Internet to start with.

But let's not get that far ahead yet...

The concept of "reenactment" was very well known in the parts of Western Europe where national frictions lingered. Long before we got struck with it. Even the young America played out their common angst before us. In battles thousands have replayed their most haunted drama. Why?

More common knowledge should've been the fact that Europe, with Great Britain and France have co-worked for ages after their so well attributed faults and enemity. Some of their most known battles were played out in yearly theatrical events as they would've been historically frozen. Mostly those events where brittish or frankish. Some of them gathered thousands. Yes! That at a time when poor Sweden suffered still from a 200 year old trauma, when swedish history books from the 50's blasted the Nation in the glory of old days. Uncomfortable with history, and what was written in those books, later swedes had a very hard task understanding --- all to no one's better judgement.

I quested some of my friends with the idea of parting fantasy Live Action Roleplay for more historical advancements. Actually, one of my first questions were so simple as; "What time, what particular event can we re-create that most possibly do us two things: a) Get life and national interest into Swedish history. b) Get fantasy roleplaying players to imagine that boffer-like hooligans was not the only action. "

Remember, at the time, the idea, or the word "reenactment" didn't exist in swedish vocabulary. As of a side note I was freshly introduced in Didi Örnstedt's book "De Övergivnas Armé", as She had found out that part of being into this geekish culture, everyone was happily promoting the use of real blades. Real weapons so to say. What the grim hag failed to understand was the understanding going on even beyond my own conviction, the revelation that some roleplayers actually acted as beacons more and more fervently towards ideas, just not childrens fantasy, and importantly against the use of violence as the center of a Live Action Role Play (hence called LARP).

The Hag also failed to understand any other concept regarding the "sharp knives".

Swords - the hard blades were showing up, one by one, as a small portion of pride became lawful in a distinguished contribution somewhere beyond swedish LARP culture. You could tell others that you had the nack of a smith. More over, leather-working and the art of sewing historical clothes made grand advancements. Not really the idea of a "lost army". So much greater it became, that anyone today must learn how to live with it, or learn to ignore it.

At the time my group knew what I meant. But getting freaking high enough to implement it would take more than just a suggestion...

With a conformed friend I took the descision. "WE are to do a LARP, but a historical one, aren't we? So... with the descision of yes here, no matter what it takes, no matter the effort - What time strikes?"
It fell on the early era of Swedish imperial Despotism, namely the Thirty Years War. That descision was not taken easily.
Against it was among several facts that no roleplayer in Sweden were expected to have the clothes required, nor was there a positive attitude to the time similar to the patriotism other countries had. On the contrary - some considered even talking about it a taboo!
With joyful enthusiasm we overcame those obstacles, creating the first historically based play in Sweden 1995. As an inter- mediate play between fantasy LARP and Reenactment. The support was in some cases immense: Some ingredients will not easily be copied, as the coins in perfect condition, weight and all, made by the Sporrong Company. Perhaps the filming of TV had a nice reboot for any one watching.

Sincerely I'm aware that few contended the play, and in some ways it wasn't the Grand Play I wished for. But some new thinking and standards was in mind just before this play, and the play confirmed that the scene of "Reenactment" would come out stronger, with new groups congreating, building on the ground set. That future is so much greater today.

You can stand proud looking about, never minding how Sweden reevaluated its honorable but freaking crazy history as a power monger. From now on you could tell everyone in the world that you are a swede, as if you were exactly the portraited and stupidly highly regarded viking or the better half of World consciousness. Myth works. But if you know history, you do not just bladder of chance.


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Comment by Nussegull on June 25, 2011 at 8:08am

There is no association, more than the interest of individuals, between museums in Sweden and the reenactment groups. Cooperating exists, but I wouldn't use the word "crossover". When I started it was basically null. That has changed as a result of a larger interest. But not much more than that. Personally - I think a few people have to be gone to make way for a new generation.

Comment by Alena Shumway on June 23, 2011 at 2:27pm
I had always heard that some of the earliest open air museums were in Sweden. Is there not a lot of crossover between history museums and reenacting?


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