Schwitzer Student Center UIndy Hall A was invaded by the pirates of a First Year Seminar class, Pirates: Truth and Legend, 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 9. The students in the course dressed in full pirate clothing and stayed in character while interacting with and teaching other University of Indianapolis students what the daily life of a pirate is like.
Freshman visual communication design major Joshua Rang was one of the students acting as a pirate during the event.
“It’s an experience design history class, so we had to take on the role of pirates and learn all this information on them,” Rang said. “The reason I volunteered is because I really like this kind of stuff, interacting with people and playing a character. It’s kind of like acting, but a little different because it’s a little more in-depth than acting. It’s like method acting.”
The room was filled with an assortment of tables manned by one or two pirates at each one. When students first walked in, they were greeted with an “Ahoy!” and music coming from a pirate and his guitar in the corner. They were directed to the first table where they were given a packet with a list of activities and questions to complete to receive their lecture/performance credit at the end.
The first table provided students with a pencil, or the pirate challenged them to use the quill and ink to write their name in the pirate alphabet. There were many different ways to write a single letter in the pirate alphabet, just as there are different writing styles in the English language.
The next table kept most of the students busy for a while, filling in the blanks of a paragraph in the packet. The paragraph was written all in pirate language, and it was the students’ job to try to decipher the text to see what it said. Freshman exercise science major Madeline Wilks said that the most interesting thing at the event was having to read this text.
“It [deciphering the text] was pretty interesting,” she said. “It was really hard to read the paragraph and figure out which words they were.”
Next was the pirate flag table. The table was covered with different examples of real-life pirate flags, and students had to create their own pirate flag in the packet before moving on. The pirate at that table said that the stereotypical pirate flag had a skull and cross-bones, but while some really did, there were others that were not so obvious to their enemies.
At a few other tables, the pirates were handing out balloon swords with which to spar. There also was a table with a variety of different rum cakes that were similar to the ones eaten by pirates. Some of the flavors included Piña Colada and coconut. The pirates assigned to that table distributed the directions for making pirate biscuits and demonstrated how to do that.
Some recreational activities that pirates participated in included storytelling, card games, origami boat making, pirate knots and a game called Liar’s Dice. According to instructables.com, each player gets five dice and one cup. The players then go around bidding on what numbers are in their cup. They may lie or tell the truth in order to confuse their opponents.
The last few tables were about how pirates used the stars and different constellations to navigate their way across the open sea. Students answered questions about the stars and drew constellations in their packets.
When students were finished with the evening’s activities, they turned in their packets to the pirate at the end to receive L/P credit. Rang said that Pirates: Truth and Legend had taught him a lot and that knowledge had helped him teach others throughout the event.
“We learn[ed] everything about pirates from the way they live, how big their ships were, everything they contained on the ships,” Rang said. “We learn[ed] everything about their crews, their habits, their locations, famous pirates. We basically learned every single thing that you could learn about a pirate and how they truly work[ed].”