Thursday, June 9, 2022

There Will Be Rum

Imagine Pirates in San Diego - August, 2019



Pirates Murder Shakespeare

 First posted February 23, 2020:

We had a five person show ready to go then lost two pirates at the last minute and had about six hours to rewrite the scripture for three pirates and rehearse intensely to absorb the new script whilst unlearning the previous version. For a moment we considered canceling the gig but one should never run from a challenge. 

    We did it. We slayed. Slaying is what we do. Shakespeare might disagree. My crew might disagree but i think we killed it. Well, except for that one thing. That one horrible thing. . .

     The thing: i, Bullet, forgot a line of dialogue. Fact. Truth. i did. And not just any line but a crucial, pivotal line of exposition without which the rest of the show made no sense. Realizing my unforgivable misdeed i tried to correct it by inserting, awkwardly, the requisite information into an ad lib a few seconds later but that just wasn't graceful or effective. no, the show was weakened, considerably, nigh irreparably, by my incompetence. Me, an experienced performer who should have reasonable skills by now. Apparently i don't. i hadn't screwed up this bad since i was a youngling thespian struggling thru Hurlyburly in Ted Harris' acting studio 30 years ago. That one was forgivable though. Everybody f**ks up Hurlyburly the first time they do it. Those thousand lines about "stuff" and "stuff on top of stuff" and "more stuff" all sound alike and it's easy to lose your place. Rabe probably wrote the d*mned thing just to torture actors. 

    But this thing i'd adapted myself, proudly breaking the eight minute record set by Skinhead Hamlet by cramming the entire tragedy into four short minutes. i had no excuse for mangling it to this magnitude. It was my show; director/actor/writer (with Shakespeare, of course). No other explanation: i'm just a sh*tty actor. i'll own it. 

    Favorite critique of the evening, from a fellow performer: "Well, the Bard sure took a beating tonight, didn't he?"

"No more pirating! It would be too great a loss to the arts!"

"The potent poison pearl is. . . something."

Wrote it, directed it, have no idea what's happening here.

We shared the bill with the great Pop Hayden and the show-stealing Michael Rayner.

Michael Rayner.
The technologically, photographically proficient Scot Nery took this himself.

Screams from Rehearsals

 Joe was never in town long enough to learn complex sword choreography so we had to include this same sequence in every single show. We decided that the captain should be too cool to get into more than one fight per show anyway. Here's Joe versus Bullet. This same fight would eventually be Joe vs. Ed, Joe vs. Alexandra, vs. Samantha, vs. Ozero. You get the picture. He was great at it though:

Here's Jill establishing her pirate-cred. This is from her audition, believe it or Snot:

Bullet directing Sea of Darkness 5 rehearsals. With Deedle, Tor and Spoo from the Pirates Charles, and Blue, Mary, Severine and Louie. Brandi Wyne choreographed the short sword fight. Deedle spontaneously composed the theme song "Take that F**king Sword." So much talent in a single show (and i was there too):

Lone Star Pirates

Jim and Joe in San Antonio.

Joe in Corpus Christi.

Pirate Invasion Long Beach 2019

Sunday, July 14, 2019

We did a guerrilla performance on the main stage at Pirate Invasion, this following three performances at sea and a frantic rush from the docks to the parking garage then thru the Invasion to main stage arriving in time to desperately search for a sober person to video our show. Comedian Phil Johnson was hosting the event and was gracious enough to film from stage left. Thanks, Phil!
    Afterward, we made our weary way to Dock 3 to board my favorite tall-ship, the American Pride, seaworthy again after a few years. Once at sea, we performed a quick skit in which world traveling adventuress Kendra Guffy joined us to deliver a couple lines and slap Ed's face. Mary Widow videoed this one and caught somebody really laughing at the "Quantum Pirates" joke which has validated me as a true writer of comedy!   
Fifty-thousand people attended Pirate Invasion this year! The event was featured on multiple television segments and Imagine Pirates were in a couple of newspapers. 
Bullet was wanted -but so were his friends. 
(Pirates hang together. Swing one, swing all!):
Main-stage show:
Ship show:
Friends and Co-Pirates:
The Brothers Galahvan.
Captain Mark of the Aqualink.
Kendra and Mary Widow.
Everyone but me.
All for Rum!
More to come...

Coming Out Stabbing

First posted on February 23, 2019.

Safety Last (part 1): Finding the Sense of Danger

"Nobody ever went into battle shouting: 'Give me safety or 

give me death!' And neither shall we go on stage preoccupied 
with our physical well-being. The show is bigger than any of 
us, so if you're more concerned about your own survival 
than about performing a great show, then you're on the wrong 
pyrate crew! Safety is not worth dying for, and it's 
not worth the show dying for..."

In the early 1990s i wrote my first script for Brethren of the Coast. Our director complained the script was "unperformable" and demanded changes. So i changed the director. The new director didn't work out either so i directed everything myself from then on. The next year we did a new show, 'Sanguinarium,' which i proclaimed to be my masterpiece but which Wolf described as: "an anguished cry for help." Before our first performance i said a few words to the cast to get them into the proper spirit.

"The sound of an audience laughing and cheering is worth 
more to me than my own life. So it's certainly worth more 
than any of your lives. Therefore: i don't care who gets 
the laughs, just as long as the show is funny. And i don't 
care how many of you get hurt or killed, 
only that the fights look good..."
Bullshitting the crew. i've got skills at this.

    In truth, there were only a couple of the crew whose deaths i would have been indifferent to but it was Brethren policy to cultivate our reputation as reckless, heck-raising pirates so i did my part.

Wolf and i had spent some weeks and broken some swords choreographing a double-cutlass duel. i wrote a quick five-person skit that incorporated the duel so we could perform it for the rest of the Brethren on Catalina Island. During that voyage Lazarus drank 12 bottles of Guinness, puked on himself, then passed out below deck. We revived him when we docked at the island and he hiked to the isthmus with us to perform. Badly, very badly. The skit got a great reaction though so i rewrote and expanded it into the 12-person show that became Sanguinarium.

Lazarus: Hours away from a great performance.

    The gist of the plot was: each of several pirates attempting to steal o box of treasure from the others thru fighting, palaverance, backstabbing, treachery and dirty tricks. Beginning with a dozen pirates, it got down to four, then two who seem to have co-conspired against the others but, naturally, then betray each other until just one wench, Severine, is alone on a stage surrounded by dead pirates. She thinks she'll finally claim that treasure, but then. . .

In those early days our pirate look was not even passable.
    i felt it was better if every performer got a few laughs and memorable moments, so there were no "leads" or stars in this show, no heroes, just vile, reprehensible characters whose sole redeeming attribute was that they were interesting to watch. i wrote the script to fit the cast -rather than casting it to fit the script- so everybody was portraying themself; Wolf, Lazarus, Severine, Winifred, Francisco, Baxter, Drake, myself, and Captain Bellows. The few other roles were played by different people each time depending on who was available.  
    We did 'Sanguinarium' at different venues throughout the summer and something always went injuriously wrong. Winifred stabbed my hand in one performance. It swelled up before the second show, two hours later, so much that i could barely wrap my fingers around a sword hilt and when the blades met during the double-cutlass the wound popped open, squirting like a fat angry zit. The hilt became wet, slippery then sticky, i struggled not to drop it. The fight was awkward but the show prevailed.

    A week after that i cracked Wolf's nose with a belaying pin (not intentionally). He had to wipe with his sash and snort blood before each line to finish the show. A couple days later i stabbed Lazarus during rehearsal, into the back of his hand and out the palm. It was bloody. He had a gig that night with his band and went onstage with a wad of cotton taped to his palm and a maxi pad over his knuckles. They were punk rock so nobody noticed.
    For the first dozen shows someone got hurt in every single performance yet we always got more applause than the other acts so we began to suspect that, like a NASCAR race, certain people watched us just hoping to see a wreck.

    But after we'd done it enough times it started going smoothly. We'd adapted to the complications of blood-wet slippery stages and stepping over the dead during combat. (the dead always had their eyes open in terror that a weapon would land on them) We also got comfortable with the sword choreography and this was not a good thing. It didn't seem as piratey when everything worked. The fights were tighter, even graceful, but the audiences weren't gasping or cheering as much. The verbal jokes still got laughs but something intangible was missing. We had evolved into a polished theatrical troupe and polish did not work when you were a pirate.

Winifred, Lazarus, Severine.
    Lazarus did tattoos at Voodoo Ink on Hollywood Blvd. We were there one afternoon drinking tequila shots, watching a stripper get her nipples pierced when he proclaimed: "Something's wrong with the show! It's not fun anymore."

    "i know it, man. i know."

    "We're just a bunch of actors now. I don't feel like a pirate anymore."

    "Maybe we need a new show."

    "We can't do a new show. I finally have my lines almost memorized." (by "memorized" he meant able to remember that he had a line when it came up, not so much able to deliver the line correctly)

    "The jokes still work. It's something else..."

    "It's the fights. That double-cutlass thing used to be the sh*t, but it doesn't pack a punch anymore. It looks like choreography."

    "That's because we don't screw it up like we used to."

    "That's what's wrong with it! When you look too rehearsed people realize they're just watching a show. There's no sense of danger unless you f*ck up once in a while so it looks like a real fight."

    "Sh*t! We should drink before the shows, so we're sure to f*ck things up."

    "Good idea!"

    Naturally Lazarus thought it was a good idea, he'd never done a sober show yet. Still, i resolved to test this theory (strictly for science) so at our next show i stealthily downed a few jiggers of rotgut rum just minutes before stagetime. i was discreet about it because i'd always discouraged the cast from over imbibing.

    The show began with a three on one fight against our captain, Jaimie Bellows, with him prevailing and vanquishing us. The liquor crept up on me thru those first moments. i couldn't tell what effect it had on my swordfighting but it sure well worked on my mind. i felt GREAT! Like a true pirate, completely in character. This was awesome! The only thing that went wrong in the whole show was a squib not breaking, nobody even got hurt. What a triumph.

    "Helluva show!" said Lazarus.

    "What a show," said Bellows. "Now we can get a drink, finally!"

    "Umm, yeah," i said. "Let's get a drink." i was already four sheets to the hurricaine but i presumed they couldn't tell. (they could tell but i was too drunk to tell that they could tell)

    Severine wasn't fooled. She began shouting at me: "What the hell were you doing, going onstage drunk?!"

    Had i been sober at that moment i would have realized the futility of trying to explain it to her but, alack, in my diminished state, i tried: "i thought the show might look more natural if i wasn't so sober."

    "Well it didn't. You forgot half your lines!"

    "You're exaggerating. You're a pathological exaggerator.."

    "And you totally grabbed Winifred's ass in your scene with her."

    "i don't remember that." If i had done that i regret not remembering it.

    "Oh yeah, and you scared the hell out of Cabinboy." It had been Cabinboy's first show with us. (We called all the new recruits Cabinboy until we came up with proper pirate names for them).

    "Why? What's his problem?"

    "When his squib didn't break he was afraid you were going to stab him for real just to get some blood in the scene."

    "He's right. Blood is very important for this show. Next time i will stab him to get that blood. He moved out of the way this time." i meant that as a joke, of course, (no, honest, it was a joke).

    "You should go talk to him and tell him he's safe. He thinks you're mad that he didn't let you stab him. Now he's afraid to do the next performance."

    "No, he isn't."

    "No, he really is! You need to talk to him."

    "Balls to that! i'm drinking."

    i staggered off toward the bar. Severine followed. "I need a drink too…"

    Cabinboy didn't show up for the next day's performance.

    i had resolved not to drink for the next show but it was too late, the precedent had been set: "If the director can drink," the crew reasoned, "then we can drink too." It was immediately clear that something was wrong. Wolf was slurring his words. He was thoroughly, obviously drunk. This is going to go badly, i thought. And it did. The fights did not look like choreography though, and the crowd applauded during the double-cutlass.

    Bellows got us gigs like the CutThroat Island screening and the Redondo Beach pier opening but we also did a few non-piratey things like histrorical festivals and faires. i really hated the faires. They always contained at least a few meddling, busy-body, "safer-than-thou" types. (Lazarus called them "safety-nazis"). Sword performers who held to a narrow opinion of how things should be done and were hostile to anyone who deviated from their orthodoxy. These were broadsword/rapier/etc. fighters. As pirates, we used different weapons hence we did things diferently. We didn't criticize them for being different but they sure came after us.

    At those events we could measure our success by the amount of hostility we got from the other performers. We quickly realized that whenever someone told us how bad our show was it was usually because our show went over better than theirs had, it was just jealousy, so if we came off stage to the rebukings and admonishments of other artistes we knew we'd done well.

    Some criticisms were reasonable, like: "Maybe you guys need to rehearse more." i would respond by pointing to the Brethren of the Coast placard next to the stage and asking, "Does that say 'Refined demonstration of thespianic skill?' No, it says: 'PIRATES!'"

    Sometimes the older sword performers would try to lecture us, affecting superiority and then boring us with "safer-than-thou" platitudes and suggestions -like "Never drink before a performance"- that would have only weakened our act until it sucked as bad as theirs had.

    We pirates felt that, as long as the audience didn't get hurt, the performers were adults who could decide for themselves what risks we were willing to take by getting onstage with one another, we could only blame ourselves for our injuries so it wasn't anyone else's concern. But these "lecturer" types presumed that we were trying to do what they did: polished proficient swordfights. They were wrong; we were pirates and there is no polish or gracefulness in piracy. It was they who wanted what we had: the fun of performing.

    One memorable "Safety First" crusader insisted on condemning us for recklessness after we'd done a particularly successful show. This guy got so angry that Lazarus and i couldn't resist antagonizing him, we eventually made a sport of these perpetually outraged busybodies. This fellow berated us for several minutes, seriously shouting things like: "Your whole crew is dangerous and you shouldn't be allowed to perform anywhere, at all, ever!" i again pointed to the placard. "Does that say 'Polished demonstration of the proper and gentlemanly techniques of swordplay?' Well, does it? No. It says: 'PIRATES!'"

    "Well I'm reporting you for drinking!"

    "Dude, we're pirates. PIRATES!" He just didn't comprehend it.

    "You're the most unprofessional group I've ever seen!" He was furiously mad even though we'd given him no provocation other than winning over an audience he had failed to, and our cheerful demeanor (which we knew would get his goat). He finally stomped away, probably to yell at somebody else he disapproved of. There's always somebody who'll try to make you feel bad about feeling good. F**k those people.

    Bellows asked: "Who's he going to report us to? The Temperance League?"      Lazarus said: "Let's get a drink!"

    We never discovered what that guy's problem was but i will speculate that he suffered from a bad case of Pirate Envy.

The lessons to be learned from this: 1: There is no polish or gracefulness in piracy. 2: If Patrick Henry had demanded "Give me safety or give me death!" nobody would remember him today.   


Thanks to Jessica Black Photography for several of the pictures here.

Sinking Before Swimming

 First gig ever. Shoreline Village, Long Beach CA. 2017.

Ready or not. In this case not. 
i'll add more  soon.

Sea of Darkness 4: Thru the Straits of Dire

By the year 2006, after more than a decade of pirating, i finally had a troupe that was getting some traction in show business, hitting the stages of Los Angeles in an escalating maelstrom of performances. These were often tailored for our specific audience of the moment hence we would come up with plot scenarios whilst driving to gigs, then ad lib the rest during the show, -you can do that sort of thing when you've been working with the same people for a while. These landlocked shows took most of my time, all of my time.
    In the spring of that year, for reasons unfathomable and despite my soberest judgement, i allowed my crew, Revenge From The Sea, to talk me into doing a pirate cruise. 
Brandi: "Hey, you should do a pirate cruise this year!" Bullet: "i'll kill you!"
    Unlike my theatrical troupe, RFTS did their pirating on a ship at sea rather than on some silly stage. i would insist they do a performance on the ship though, just because i thought it was fun and because it was the only time that i could write a script exactly how i wanted, without having to consider anyone else's tastes. 
    Besides writing the script, doing a cruise meant making hundreds of phone calls to organize rehearsals, getting Omen to paint a cool cover for the invitations, writing, printing then snail-mailing the invitations, (we didn't send email invites because we didn't want people forwarding them). We also needed to determine a 'share of plunder' to hand out, then design and create 100 of them. Oh yeah, and there was the money problem. i'd have to pay for rum, mailings, plunder shares and the ship itself. 
    Deciding that sleep and sanity were for wankers, we commenced preparing for the cruise. My irrationally optimistic business strategy for this event was to reserve the ship then mail out the invites and hope enough people bought passage in advance that i could cover the cost of the charter and other expenses. This didn't always work. Sometimes i had to use my rent money to reserve the ship because people didn't pay up in time. They'd show up just before we sailed, cash in hand. There wouldn't be time to count it all, i'd just shove it in my pocket and hope it was enough to cover the check i handed to the ship's captain, telling him, "Please don't deposit this for a few days." The next morning i'd pay rent with apologies to the landlord for being three weeks late, laying out hundreds of dollars in piles of small bills on his desk. He became suspicious once and asked if i'd robbed a liquor store for the money. i told him, "No, man. i was pirating!" There were no further questions.
    Other than a few crossover people, Revenge From The Sea were a very different monster than the landlocked troupe. Most of us never even saw one another except during the few weeks of cruise rehearsals each year so we were an harmonious group, by pirate standards, in that we weren't sick of working together and only a few of us hated each other's guts. 
    Los Angeles is geographically vast and we were scattered throughout it so we never managed a rehearsal where everyone was present at the same time. We practiced in shifts where about half the cast were present and a few valiant performers read multiple parts to cover for those who weren't there. We had two months -rather than the usual three- to make this cruise work. i'd written the script quickly, furiously, and somewhat incompetently. It included foolishly whimsical ideas like trying to rhyme "Caribbean" with "Gonorrhea." My reasoning skills were obviously diminished because, at the time, i really thought that would work.

CROW: "..once a mighty pirate of the Caribbeah, now a pirate of the gonorrhea! That's why i never engage a doxy without my proper wenching hat."
DOXY POX: "But sir, you don't wear a wenching hat."
CROW: "Not on my head, i don't."
    The whole script was this level of nonsense. It was crap but i was too exhausted to notice. Wolf quit after the first rehearsal, i should have realized then that something was wrong but i was preoccupied with other things. Wolf had been pirating with me for twelve years, he had a powerful voice that held an audience's attention and kept the other performers in line. The show wouldn't be as good without him in it. He left a note for me that read: "This script is nothing less than FINE." Whenever i didn't like something but was trying to be diplomatic i would describe it as "fine." Wolf calling my script "fine" was the worst insult possible but, again, i was just too busy to think about it. i did a quick rewrite -further weakening the bad script- to accommodate his absence and we continued rehearsals.
       A few things did go well, however. Omen Thistle painted a perfect illustration for the invites. i invented the '69 Splatterer' (patent pending), a new form of squib that shot blood in opposite directions simultaneously. We decided to add an extra hour to the charter so we'd have time to do one last rehearsal before taking off. i rigged a new hanger, from netting and boarding pikes, for the 'Ark of the Kaptaincy' so Olde Nick could command from a dignified position. We switched from Whaler's Dark rum to the more popular, and more expensive, Captain Morgan, fixed our gibbeted skeleton, Jack Bladder, to live up to his name, and Miss Blue revamped the entire Revenge From The Sea website in time for us to promote the cruise on it. 
Omen Thistle painted the invite cover for Sea of Darkness 4.
And i spelled 'Straits' incorrectly.
    Then, a week before sailing, something almost sank us. Spillit, and myself did a gig where we had to storm a corporate meeting in an office building to sell the CEO on the idea of having a pyrate theme for their upcoming national convention. After a hyper extended Spinal-Tappian search for our client thru the lobbies and back doors of three separate buildings, we boarded an elevator to the top floor. We were to surprise about 60 of the regional directors who had come from all over the country for this meeting.
    Upon emerging, pistols and swords in hand from the elevator, some daft office wench was so startled she hid under her desk and called 911 to tell them that armed terrorists were in the building and there was a hostage situation -because, as everybody knows, terrorists always dress like 17th century buccaneers. (isn't there a law against "piratical-profiling"). We had no idea as we were performing our skit, that the client was downstairs frantically explaining to police that the "armed intruders" were hired performers. 
    Upon our departure we found a lobby full of cops waiting for us.    
    Spillit said: "Sh*t! We'll have to cancel the cruise because they're taking us to Gitmo!" 
    i said: "We're not going to Gitmo, dude. We have pyratical immunity."
    The cops didn't arrest us, they just wanted us to pose for pictures with them. 
    The CEO of the company found out about this the following week when he recieved an angry letter from the Irvine police dept. telling him he should warn people next time he plans to invite pyrates to their corporate meetings. He decided against having a pyrate theme for their convention.

Three days before sailing, Severine phoned me. i always thought of Sev as a knee-jerk contrarian. Her first reaction to anything new was to proclaim it impossible to accomplish or just a bad idea. Thus i took it with a few grains of sea salt when she said: "You know, I was thinking maybe we shouldn't do a performance this time."
    "You don't like the script. Go on, say it! You don't have to beat around the bilge pump with me!"  
    "Honestly," she said. "You've written better shows. Much better. And we haven't had enough time to rehearse anyway." 
    She spoke in a tone of transparent tactfulness but i could tell she hated my script. Well, at least she didn't call it "fine."
Severine. Should i have listened to her? Naaah.
    i considered her advice (only because she was my Most Valuable Pirate). It was true that, even without a show, the voyage itself would be a success because we'd be on a tall ship, out on the water with barrels of rum, cannon firing and musicians playing and wenches dancing in the salty spray. That was what most pirates came for anyway. And we hadn't actually advertised that there would be a show, so we weren't obligated to do it. But, dammit, we'd always done a show on the cruise and people would be expecting one. And i just HAD to do it, i was a pathological performer and had committed to this. There was no going back.
    In the days preceding the voyage my fellow Revengers were all drafted to unpleasant duties like rolling scrolls or chopping coconuts or designing DVD labels until, late in the month of July, by the skin of our few remaining teeth, we managed to launch our fourth Voyage. 
    An anonymous person once said: "The difference between men and boys is the size of their toys." Some people aren't content to play with plastic swords or build model kits of miniature pirate ships, they want a real ship, with cannon and sails, a sea wind to push them onward and cutlasses ringing over a blood splashed deck. And rum, lots of rum. Such people are pirates, and about a hundred of them were gathered at the dock in Long Beach whilst my crew went thru a last minute rehearsal aboard ship. It was the first time we'd all been in the same place at once and only then did i notice how truly awful the show was. 
    Usually a script starts out at about 40 pages and then gets cut down to 20 or less pages during the course of rehearsals so that it doesn't run too long (about 14 minutes is optimal). The one we were performing was 29 pages and there hadn't been time to edit it or to determine which elements would work and which would bomb. So everything was left in. Every. Stupid. Bad Idea. Still, we were going to perform it because, like an addict holding a crack pipe, i just couldn't stop myself.
    My strategy was to wait until an hour into the cruise before starting the performance. Most of the audience would be on their second or third drink by this time hence more receptive to the entertainment. The trouble was that most of the performers would also be a few sheets to the wind by then so i didn't risk waiting any longer than that. 
    Doxy Pox began ringing the ship's bell for attention, then the musicians began a military drum beat and Mr. Spillit was led out in chains to hear the charges against him before his execution. Cassandra speaks out of turn and Crimson Bastard silences her with the line: "Shove a cork in yer blowhole, ye flank-felching mutton strumpet!" 
    The line had been written for Wolf. Bastard delivered it differently than Wolf would have. Not badly, just differently. So something seemed off, right from the beginning (it probably didn't help that the words "flank-felching" dont make any damn sense at all). But things got even more off as we continued. The first bit of banter was Spillit trying to talk his way out of being shot. i'd expected this scene to last a couple minutes but it went on and ploddingly on...
SPILLIT: "Stay yerselves! I may be the new man on this crew, But I do insist I've got the right to a trial!"  
CROW: "Nobody has the right to a trial, Mr. Spillit! Nobody has the right to any rights. Rights are not a right!"  
CRIMSON BASTARD: "Mr. Crow is right!"  
CROW: "Cap ye twig no insurrections fomented by this vain deliverer, this would-be slip gibbeting spawn of a Dover brothel whore who speaketh but to spare himself yer rightful wrath! Heed him not, who would seduce ye by the Devil's own words to the world's far edge and over, into the mouth of Hell itself..."   
DOXY POX: "But sir, it was you who set our course for the Mare Noc---"
CROW: "Dammit, wench! Don't interrupt me when I'm bullshitting the crew! ...Mr Spillit's crimes be of the vilest order since Captain Van Helsing stole my hat!...And my cloak...and my general demeanor and overall characterisation."
CRIMSON BASTARD: "Well Solomon Kane does make the same complaint against you."
CROW: "Must we cut out yet another tongue?"
Cassandra; the ever complaining and fomenting.
     There were a dozen pages of just talk, talk, TALK... Norma Desmond would have hated this crap. Way too much dialogue and not enough bloodletting. What idiot had written this script? Oh, yeah..
    Because no one except the valiant Rillian had their lines well memorized, we drafted Mary Widow to the role of 'Girl Interrupter' and had her carry about a copy of the "unholy scripture," rushing from pyrate to pyrate so they could read their lines -if needed- as the lines came up. Our fiddler, DeAnna, was responsible for 'Accentual Musical Elements,' playing to accompany the performers, much like a film soundtrack. We were so unrehearsed though, she wasn't getting her cues. We were torturing her with all the missing and misdelivered dialogue. 
McAlleenan O'Malley (Deanna): our Musical Martyr. 
    The action didn't begin until late in the show, after the audience had suffered yet more talk, and still more talk. Cassandra has been identified as the bringer of the pox which has cursed our ship... 

CROW: "This be the parcel of pubic pestilence which hast infected us! Make a fire! We'll burn her at the mast!"
LOUIE: "Burn her!" 
CRIMSON BASTARD: "Witch! Witch!"
    Brandi interferes with this plan, Severine fights Spillit then Brandi fights me. It barely makes any sense at all. This was Brandi's virgin voyage with us so she didn't yet have her bearings on how to avoid hitting the yardarm with her cutlass. Things went wrong. i stopped the show so we could do the fight over again, thinking we might at least get a few good seconds of video out of it. We didn't. It went slightly better but then the squib didn't work. The 69 Splatterer, which i had invented myself and was so proud of, was a FAILURE. It was nigh too much to bear but i pressed on and had Sev cut Brandi's throat over and over until it worked. On the fourth attempt the blood finally shot out properly but it wasn't effective because Brandi was already soaked from the previous three throat cuttings. 
Yet not a drop of blood in her hair.
    i was delirious and unhinged from lack of sleep, i started demanding everyone repeat their lines until the audience was satisfied with their performance. Finally, everyone on the verge of mutiny or tears, we finished the show. 
    In the end my 14 minute skit had gone on for 43 minutes and seven seconds. And my crew probably hated me. At one point, Crimson Bastard had lacerated my finger whilst handing me a dagger, was it intentional? i'm still not sure.
Severine cut Brandi's throat four times. Thanks, Sev!
    Other than the show, the cruise went fine. The ship was packed to capacity with pyrates. We finished off both barrels of rum and many a strumpet was groped in the twilight as rum-goggles held sway over over sound reasoning. The sun was just setting and the band played 'Leave Her' as we drifted into port. 
    As our guests disembarked, each received a "share of plunder," that being a DVD version of 'Sea of Darkness 3' which Wolf had edited together. At least the show had gone well on that one.  Afterward most of us staggered to a tavern on the docks to drink and wench into the late night.
    Upon closing the tavern we commenced the two hour drive back to Hollywood for the wonderful chore of carrying barrels, crates, gibbet cage and skeleton, wooden sign and weapons, and the Kaptain's head, through two security gates and up four flights to my Crow's nest. Spillit and i did the carrying while Mary Widow guarded the vehicle from criminals and parking enforcement. We finished at 4:00 am. They left. i sat on my couch, spent, no longer sober, and quickly comatose.  

    After three hours i was awakened by the telephone and Severine's voice informing me: "We're downstairs. Are you ready?"
    "Ah, sh*t! i'll be right down.." i'd forgotten we had a gig that afternoon. There was no time to shower so i wore mostly the same sweaty, blood stained clothes i'd slept in. If anyone complained i'd tell them today was 'Smell Like a Pirate Day.'
    The hangover kicked in like a rosary of pain, like a sounding iron dropping on my skull. The heathen gods of land and sea (and theatre too, probably) were punishing me for my terrible performance yesterday. i swallowed three asprins with a half bottle of beer, pulled myself together post-sloth and staggered downstairs to meet the others. 
    Sev spoke first: "Gooooood morning!"
    "Please don't be cheerful. It might get you killed..."
    We had to do four shows that day. One of them went really, really well. The other three? Let's just open some rum and drink away that memory...

The lesson to be learned from all of this: If someone, anyone, tells you that your script is "fine," it's best to just scrap the entire damned thing and start over. 


Much thanks to Golden Image, and Fourth Realm Foto for sharing pictures and video!