The Ballad of Captain Sharkey
A short play on how the pirate got his name
ACT 1 SCENE 1
Newfoundland England, just outside of Cuper’s cove 1730. CAPTAIN SHARKEY is sitting at a round table, the long scar on his face illuminated by the candle light. Surrounding him are three young lads. The dubious DUBOIS, the eager and impressionable CLYDE, and the older more reserved HENRY. A story begins.
CAPTAIN SHARKEY: Twas a mutiny I tell ye,
Of his beer he takes a sip
A mutiny against me, on me very own ship.
DUBOIS: Pray tell me,
whatever does a mutiny,
have to do with why your name is Captain
CAPTAIN SHARKEY: The story does show, if ye
really want to know
CLYDE: Oh yes, by Jove.
We really want to know!
CAPTAIN SHARKEY: Then strap in young lads
and I’ll tell ye o'er a round or two,
the story of why I was turned against and
dropped down plum into the ocean blue.
Without a clue...as to what to do.
But I made me way out, oh ye can see that.
Barmaid! Some beer for us men, and bring it
ACT 1 SCENE 2
The middle of the Indian Ocean, 1710. Turbulent seas crash into the sides of the ship “The Merry Marius” as a result of a passing storm. The oily first mate MARTY and his right hand man fat PERRY sit at a couple of wine barrels plotting against their captain MARIUS.
MARTY: I tell ye fat lump o' lard,
gettin' rid of ole Marius shan't be too hard.
PERRY: But I like the ole chap.
PERRY averts his gaze whilst giving the barrel a tap
MARTY: I’m tellin ye…if we get rid of ‘im we can
two cap’ns of this ship, you and me.
We’ll take all the spoils oh yes we will.
If it’s the ‘dear ole’ Cap’n that we kill
PERRY: I like where you’re a goin’, gwon tell me
If I do this for ye, what'll be in store?
MARTY: We take ‘im by surprise, like a thief in the
Tie ‘im up at the mast real nice and tight.
Gather everybody on deck; the ‘hole mangy crew,
And in the morning we throw ‘im o’erboard into
the ocean blue.
PERRY: Oh Marty I’ve got shivers
PERRY twists his hat in his hands
up and down me timbers.
MARTY: We strike tomorrow. MARTY hisses
No time for sorrow.
Morning comes, another night falls. MARTY rushes into the Captain’s quarters, a wine bottle hidden inside his coat
MARTY: O Cap'n come quick!
We’re under attack!
They think they’re so slick,
but I’ve got yer back.
CAPTAIN MARIUS flies up from his bed, putting on his hat and holstering his sword.
MARIUS: We won’t be taken! If it’s a fight they
want, then a fight they'll get.
First mate Marty get those cannons lit and set!
MARTY waits for the captain to walk out the door and hits him upside the head with the wine bottle. CAPTAIN MARIUS falls to the ground unconscious. When he wakes, he is bound in ropes attached to a thin wooden plank stretching out over the open sea, the entire crew looking on as MARTY approaches.
MARTY: O lookie who’s awake.
What a piece of cake.
Don’t ye dare try to strain,
tis the end of yer reign!
CAPTAIN MARIUS groans
CAPTAIN: What's this ye traitor?
He struggles to stand a little straighter
MARTY: Like I said,
your time as cap’n has come to an end.
Now it’s my turn, dear ole friend.
With these final words MARTY cuts the plank, and down into the ocean CAPTAIN MARIUS sank.
ACT 1 SCENE 3
Underwater sea life swirls around a tornado of bubbles as MARIUS struggles to untie himself.
A Mako shark is seen approaching, jaws open and aimed at MARIUS. The Captain reaches out his sinuous arms and plunges his 2 inch long fingernails into the shark’s eyes. He then uses the teeth of the lifeless shark to free himself of his bonds.
MARIUS kicks his way to the ocean’s surface, watching his ship sail off to the East. He looks around him and sees in the not so far off distance a small island. Its white sand glistens against the sun’s rays.
MARIUS: Right then. And away we go.
He begins to swim.
END OF ACT 1
ACT 2 SCENE 1
The tavern has become close to empty as the night grows darker. The boys wear different expressions upon their faces. DUBOIS is frowning, CLDYE is worried, and HENRY is stoic, his face unchanged. CAPTAIN SHARKEY raises his glass of ale to the barmaid, takes a long swig of his drink and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.
CLYDE: Well ye was surely blessed.
Pray tell us, what happened next?
SHARKEY: Very well, listen close and listen well,
and the rest of the story I will tell.
The boys pull their stools in until there is no room between the edge of the table and their stomachs. They breathe intensely, waiting for the Captain to continue.
SHARKEY: I swam to the land.
Kissed the hot sand,
and began to form my grand revenge plan.
I crafted a raft,
the whole time I laughed.
Lost in thought of what I’d do to that hardy bum
Upon the island was a boy all alone.
At this point in the story, CAPTAIN SHARKEY and HENRY exchange a knowing glance.
CAPTAIN SHARKEY flashes a broad smile and continues his tale.
His hands he did loan,
to help with the work there was to do.
We set out to sea,
all the while following me
was the very family
of the shark who had been my enemy,
that first day I was pitched into the sea.
DUBOIS and CLYDE grip the edge of the wooden table in anticipation. CAPTAIN SHARKEY raises the palm of his hand up at them as if to say "relax".
They followed us in the storm.
They were an awful big swarm.
We caught up to me ship in record time,
I climbed aboard in the dead of night,
gave that traitor Marty quite the fright.
I’d be sure he’d pay for his crime.
When dawn had arrived, I woke the whole crew.
Shamed them for their coup.
Pointed down below
to the sharks awaiting my cue,
and gave ole Marty a heave ho.
He fell into the ocean followed by a great big splash.
Maroon blood spread as the sharks began to thrash.
I turned to face the mangy lot,
stared long into their eyes.
I roared “Look at the army I’ve brought!
Anyone else care to meet their demise?"
They gave me their gold, before me they bowed.
Then began the cheer that grew so loud:
“Long live Captain Sharkey the King!”
They screamed and screamed and they began to
And that me friends is the whole marvelous tale.
Now where is that barmaid with my ale?
CAPTAIN SHARKEY turns his head to look for the tavern waitress. CLYDE and DUBOIS share a look of awe and lean back on their stools admiring the older gentleman.
HENRY leans out of view from the two young men and begins to slowly shake his head whilst smirking at the Captain. CAPTAIN SHARKEY laughs and runs his fingers through his curly brown hair.
HENRY: Oy good fellas, would you care
to gwon an' fetch the tavern lass with the pretty
The boys rise from the table and cross the room toward the bar top in search of the tavern maid. HENRY gives Captain Sharkey a look of feigned disapproval.
HENRY: Made yerself out to be the hero yet again eh? He folds his arms across his chest.
CAPTAIN SHARKEY: Oh me dear boy, don’t ye fret.
The day will soon enough arrive,
For ye to explain yer own name and I'll bet,
you’ll crave the fortune, the fame, you'll forget that
And me? Oh I'll be, just a once upon a time memory
in your mind.
HENRY: Laughs. O ole Marius, don't be a knave.
For how could I forget the first man I ever did save?
ACT 2 SCENE 2
Indian Ocean. 1710. Captain Marius has been thrown overboard from the slime first mate Marty. He struggles to find his way to the ocean’s surface.
A young preteen boy out fishing sees the affair of the mutiny and rows toward the bubbles expanding on top of the water. He leans over his boat, lowers his arms down into the waves, and pulls up a man bound in ropes.
MARIUS: By Jove, I thought I had breathed my last
What do I call the man who saved me from death?
HENRY: My name is Henry, your acquaintance I am
pleased to make.
MARIUS: Stares in disbelief. Why yer just a boy for
HENRY: I may be a small lad, but on my island I am
HENRY looks out at the horizon troubled.
HENRY: It has been months since I’ve seen
another human being.
MARIUS: Tis fate that we’ve met!
I owe ye a large debt.
Just wait until I get my hands on Marty that fool,
for your assistance I’ll pay you many a jewel!
HENRY: I desire no payment, only to escape from this
Though it appears we must hurry if we are to give chase
MARIUS: Tell me boy, are ye handy?
HENRY: With my tools, I’m more than dandy.
MARIUS: Then to your island we must go, for I’ve got
me a plan,
to build an army of sharks so large and so grand.
They row to the island and begin to construct wooden shark fins of sizes big and small. Scraping rocks against the wood, they paint the fins a deep shade of charcoal. CAPTAIN MARIUS looks off to the East where his ship is approaching a thick mass of ominous thunderclouds.
MARIUS: Oh yes we’ll catch up soon enough and just
wait til we do.
I’ve got more than a few words for that ungrateful crew.
ACT 2 SCENE 3
The sun is starting to rise over the tavern. We see DUBOIS and CLDYE swaying to and fro, the barmaid accompanying them with more ale. They laugh drunkenly and twirl the woman between the two of them.
CLYDE: I say fair maiden what we tell ye is true!
The great Captain Sharkey wants us for his crew.
DUBOIS: Soon we will be famous throughout the Seven
Oh c'mon and join us if ye dare please!
The barmaid rolls her eyes in disbelief and walks away to tend to more customers. The boys arrive back to an empty table, save several pounds of gold in the middle attached to a note. CLYDE picks up the damp piece of parchment and begins to read it aloud.
CLYDE: Boys, it was fun,
but we had to run.
What a night it was and I have not a doubt in me heart,
that these gold coins will give yous both a fresh start
Spend 'em wisely, and forget not the story I told.
And dear lads, try your hardest to never get old!
The young men run out of the tavern and spot a ship clearing the harbor, a bright blue flag flowing in the breeze off the main mast. In the center of the flag is a large Mako Shark bearing a toothless grin.