A Readers’ Theater by Mr. Weimann
NARRATOR — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I’m the narrator of this play. While the other characters are reading dialogue, my job is to fill you in on the “behind the scenes” information. Because we aren’t “acting” this out, and do not have a set with decorations and all, you will have to picture some of what I tell you in your heads. This is called “visualizing.”
MARY — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I’m a Polite Pirate, named Mary, in this play. I’m a Polite Pirate in real life, too. Polite pirates look like regular pirates, but we don’t steal anything. Also, we have extremely good manners.
ZEUS — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I’m a Polite Pirate in the play, as well. In the play my name is Zeus. The problem is that I think people will not like me if I act like my normal polite self. Wait until you see the silly stuff that I do, to try and look tough!
CAPTAIN — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I’m the Captain of the Polite Pirates in this play. I am very wise.
EVERYONE: So wise!
SAILOR1 — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I play a sailor in this play. I think that Zeus is funny.
SAILOR2 — Hi, my name is _____(name of reader), and I’m also a sailor in the play. I’m sad to say that my sailor friend and I end up making fun of Zeus a little. Find out what happens as you listen to…
EVERYONE: “Talk Like a Pirate… Or Else!”
NARRATOR: There was once an island that rescued several sailors who had survived a massive storm.
ZEUS: Where are we?
CAPTAIN: We are safe.
ZEUS: I asked, where we were; not how we were.
MARY: Are you questioning the captain?
ZEUS: No, that was a statement. I do declare, my statement was referring to our whereabouts, rather than our condition.
CAPTAIN: The storm has taken a toll on us. We have lost many crew members; We are weary and hungry; We have no shelter; This is a strange and foreign land; But, for the moment, we are safe.
ZEUS: You are right, Captain. I apologize for my ungrateful attitude.
CAPTAIN: Apology accepted. Now, lets make a fire and collect some food.
NARRATOR: These three polite pirates were not the only sailors surviving on the island. There were people from several different ships marooned on the same piece of land. And, yes, I did say “Polite” pirates… For this small remaining band of pirates was none other than Captain Iron Knee’s crew of Polite Pirates!
MARY: Zeus, I have collected this dry wood for a toasty fire.
ZEUS: Excellent! The captain will have to instruct us on how to begin the flame. He is so wise.
MARY: So wise.
NARRATOR: Captain Iron Knee was considered rather wise:)
ZEUS: Now, let’s gather some food.
NARRATOR: The fire was started and food was gathered. As the polite pirates ate, they looked around. They saw other surviving sailors who did not have a toasty warm fire. Not too far away were two sailors shivering on a log.
CAPTAIN: We should share some fire and food with those unfortunate souls.
ZEUS & Mary: Yes, mmm, definitely.
NARRATOR: As you can see, these pirates did not behave in the typical piraty way. However, they did look like other pirates, complete with eye patches, pirate hats, and even an iron knee. It doesn’t get much more piraty than an iron knee!
CAPTAIN: Why don’t one of you two go over there and offer some food and fire to our neighbors?
ZEUS: I will go.
NARRATOR: Zeus hesitated, though. He wondered what the neighboring survivors would think if they knew just how polite he and his friends were… Or, was it the fact that they looked like pirates but did not act or talk like pirates. Either way, rather than going over to the two shivering sailors and saying…
MARY: “Hello, I happened to notice that you have been struggling to begin a fire over here.”
NARRATOR: …He actually said… er, growled…
ZEUS: Ahoy!! Shiver me timbers! Dis be a fancy mess o’ sticks! Avast: me fire be yours if ye belay that shiverin’, get yerselves off the yardarm and fetch some (far less piraty voice) really really small sticks. I suggest the fine twigs of spruce trees. Those work quite well. (recomposing himself) SHOW A LEG! Let’s go!
NARRATOR: You can well imagine that the shivering sailors were as confused as they were cold after that display.
SAILOR 1: What on earth was that?
SAILOR 2: I do not know. (Thinks for a moment; then in a gruff, piraty voice) Yarr, I be not knowin’ what that be ‘bout!
(Both Sailors giggle.)
NARRATOR: Zeus did not walk upright, the way he usually did on his return to Captain Iron Knee and Mary. He was hunched over, dragged one leg, and swung his arms ferociously.
CAPTAIN: Zeus, did you offer those sailors some of our food and fire, as I asked you to?
ZEUS: I did tell them that they could have some of our fire.
MARY: How exactly did you communicate that idea?
ZEUS: (Hems and haws; then mumbles) I talked like a pirate.
CAPTAIN: That is what I thought.
ZEUS: (Making excuses) But, what if they don’t like us? What if they think we are weak or not scary?
MARY: What does being scary have to do with anything?
(Pause and look at sailors who are acting out piraty behavior)
SAILOR 1: Hoist the colors, hearties!
SAILOR 2: The Jolly Roger be missin’, cap’n!
SAILOR 1: Blimey, land lubbers be scrapin’ off with me hook if-wernt-‘tached-me-arm!
SAILOR 2: And ye may lay to that!
(Back to the polite pirates)
CAPTAIN: Now look at what you have done!
MARY: Were you trying to sound scary, the way pirates typically do?
ZEUS: (embarrassed) Maybe.
CAPTAIN: Why would you do that? That is not a way to make friends. If we are going to survive on this island peaceably it is important to make friends. We will need to cooperate.
MARY: (In an understanding, kind tone) Captain Iron Knee is correct. We may be pirates, but we are shipwrecked just like every other person on this island.
NARRATOR: Zeus thought about this, and felt badly. He walked back over to the sailors still giggling and trying to talk like pirates, themselves. Only, this time Zeus walked the way he normally would, tall, proud, with shoulders back, straight, and chin up; not swinging his arms, but carrying them like instruments for helping others.
ZEUS: (To the sailors who have been mocking him and pretending to be pirates) Excuse me, but earlier I came over here and behaved badly. I was afraid that you would not like me if I talked to you normally, so I tried talking like a pirate. The thing is… I am a pirate, but a rather polite one. I belong to an unusually mannerly group of pirates who share politeness with others. Actually, that is why I was sent over here, originally. We have food and fire that we would like to share with you if you are interested.
NARRATOR: This left the two sailors rather speechless.
SAILOR 1: Yarr! (Sailor2 nudges the first) …Uh, yes, yes, we would greatly appreciate some help with fire and food.
SAILOR 2: Thank you for coming back over here and explaining your behavior. We weren’t sure if you were a silly person, weird pirate, or shipwrecked savage.
ZEUS: My name is Zeus, and I am the chef on Captain Iron Knee’s ship.
(They get close enough for Mary to hear this.)
MARY: You were chef of the ship. Hello, I am Mary.
(Sailors shake hands all around.)
CAPTAIN: Pleased to make your acquaintance.
SAILOR 1: We would be grateful for your help.
SAILOR 2: We are freezing over here.
ZEUS: Rather than give you fire, why don’t the two of you join us.
MARY: Yes, we have enough food for all of us.
SAILOR 1: You really are polite pirates!
SAILOR 2: How do you become a polite pirate?
NARRATOR: And with that, the polite pirate crew grew once more.