Five For Silver

pirates, repetition, variation

Designers: Mo Holkar
Number of participants: 12
Duration: 4 hours
The presenter feels that this larp IS suitable for young people aged 16+

About the larp

It’s been a year since the death of notorious pirate captain Tall Jane Silver, and the scattering of her officers and crew to the four winds. Tonight, they regather, at the sign of the ‘Buck & Ear’, to celebrate her memory… or, maybe, to reopen old wounds. Secrets will be uncovered, tears will be shed, perhaps blood will spill. It is as Silver would no doubt have wished…

This is a larp with predesigned characters, casting, secrets, individual goals, and plots that become exposed and during play. However! There is a fairly major twist, which is that it only lasts half an hour, and we’re going to play it through five times in succession. And in each replay, we will be aiming to pretty much recreate it the same way – the same interactions and resolutions, in the same sequence. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same – memory being what it is – but the general thrust will be for it to be as close as we can make it. The five runs are as follows:

  • The first time, we just play the larp in the normal way. All the material will be new and exciting.
  • The second time, we replay it, with exaggerated emotions. So, same stuff happens, but hugely overacted.
  • The third time, we replay it with flirtation underlying each interaction. Again the same stuff happens, but each conversation etc has a flirtatious subtext, as though all the characters are attracted to each other (but don’t do anything more than flirt).
  • The fourth time, we massively downplay emotions. We play with a deadened lack of affect. Grey, flat.
  • The fifth time, we replay as normal, but without speaking. All interactions are mediated by body language (no sign language, charades, etc). By now people should be pretty familiar with the story, so we should be able to ‘read’ each other’s intentions and meanings.

Afterwards, and optionally: we will talk together about how these different play experiences made people feel about the material, about their characters, about the way they use emotion in play, about their interactions, about the story.

Content Warnings: Storylines revolve around the pirate lifestyle, including description (but not enactment) of bloody violence and cruelty. One of the repetitions requires flirtatious play.

Mo Holkar: UK larp designer and organizer, increasingly involved in the international scene over the last few years. Interested currently in how the embodied nature of larp means that it can aid meaningful exploration of feelings.


Physical contact Not relevant for this larp; e.g. just standing in a room and talking
Romance and intimacy Not necessarily romantic, but flirtatious play in one of the repetitions
Conflict and violence Themes of conflict, but not enacted by players; e.g. quiet threats and vengeful stares
Communication style Lots of speech
Movement style Walking
Characters Characters are fully predesigned
Narrative control The shape and direction of the story is entirely, or almost entirely, determined by player choice
Transparency In the first repetition, the players will have secrets from each other, but in subsequent repetitions these will have become transparent
Representation The fictional space looks very unlike the play space, but players will use their imaginations
Play culture Players are individually trying to achieve goals, such that not all can succeed
Tone Light-hearted

Saturday afternoon, Studio 7