William Brand

Performances at Fort Taylor Pirate Invasion

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We're considering a few new performance pieces at the Fort Taylor Pirate Invasion. In addition to any specific demonstrations such as Mission's fine surgical show and the battle scenarios, the crew of the Mercury has been offered an opportunity to have a 'trial' during the schedule. This could be a trial of one or more of us, overseen by English judges and guards concerning some pirate knavery or we could have a crew trial of some crew member for dereliction of duties aboard ship or ashore.

If we do a crew trial it could be for some infraction of the Ship's Articles. We could try one of us for being drunk on duty, theft from a fellow sailor or cowardice in combat. The trial could also serve as a meeting of business concerning the payment of shares.

Thoughts?

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My vote would be theft, the crowd could find humor in a pirate stealing from pirates

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Or a trial within a trial. One could be on trial for drunk on duty or infraction of ships articles. Then a pirate could be caught stealing from a pirate or member of the guard observing the trial.

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You know what would be even better (as well as being PC and extraordinarily funny just as written)? Thomas Anstis' crew's mock trial.

"[Captain Thomas Anstis’ pirates] pass'd their Time here in Dancing, and 0ther Diversions, agreeable to these sort of Folks; and among the rest, they appointed a Mock Court of Judicature to try one another for Pyracy, and he that was a Criminal one Day was made Judge another.

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I had an Account given me' of one of these merry Tryals, and as it appeared diverting, I shall give the Readers a short Account of it.

The Court and Criminals being both appointed, as also Council to plead, the Judge got up in a Tree, and had a dirty Taurpaulin hung over his Shoulders; this was done by Way of Robe, with a Thrum Cap on his Head, and a large Pair of Spectacles upon his Nose : Thus equipped, he settled himself in his Place, and abundance of Officers attending him below, with Crows, Handspikes, &c. instead of Wands, Tipstaves, and such like. The Criminals were brought out, making a thousand sour Faces, and one who acted as Attorney-General opened the Charge against them; their Speeches were very laconick, and their whole Proceedings concise. We shall give it by Way of Dialogue.

Attorn. Gen. An't please your Lordship, and you Gentlemen of the Jury, here is a Fellow before you that is a sad Dog, a sad sad Dog, [pirate audience: a sad, sad, sad dog] and I humbly hope your Lordship will order him to be hang'd out of the Way immediately. He has committed Pyracy upon the High Seas, and we shall prove, an't please your Lordship, that this Fellow, this sad Dog before you [pirate audience: sad, sad, sad, sad Dog], has escap'd a thousand Storms, nay, has got safe ashore when the Ship has been cast away, which was a certain Sign he was not born to be drown'd, yet not having the Fear of hanging before his Eyes, he went on robbing and ravishing Man, Woman and Child, plundering Ships Cargoes fore and aft, burning and sinking Ship, Bark and Boat, as if the Devil had been in him. But this is not all, my Lord, he has committed worse Villanies than all these, for we shall prove, that he has been guilty of drinking Small-Beer, and your

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Lordship knows, there never was a sober Fellow but what was a Rogue. My Lord, I should have spoke much finer than I do now, but that, as your Lordship knows our Rum is all out, and how should a Man speak good Law that has not drank a Dram, However, I hope, your Lordship will order the Fellow to be hang'd.

Judge. —Hearkee me, Sirrah, you lousy pittiful, ill-look'd Dog what have you to say why you should not be tuck'd up immediately, and set a Sun-drying like a Scare-crow? —Are you guilty or not guilty?

Pris. Not guilty, an't please your Worship.

Judge. Not guilty! Say so again. Sirrah,-and I'll have you hang'd without any Tryal.

Pris. An't please your Worship's Honour, say Lord, I am as honest a poor fellow as ever went between Stem and Stern of a Ship, and can hand, reef, steer, and clap two Ends of a Rope together, as well as e'er a He that ever cross'd salt Water, but I was taken by one George Bradley [the Name of him that sat as Judge] a notorious Pyrate, a sad Rogue [pirate audience: sad, sad, sad, sad, sad rogue] as ever was unhang'd, and he forc'd me, an't please your Honour.

Judge. Answer me, Sirrah, —How will you be try'd?

Pris. By G-- and my Country.

Judge. The Devil you will. Why then, Gentlemen of the Jury, I think we have nothing to add but to proceed to Judgement.

Attor. Gen. Right, my Lord; for if the Fellow should be suffer'd to speak, he may clear himself, and that's an Affront to the Court.

Pris. Pray, my Lord, I hope your Lordship will confider----

Judge. Confider! How dare you talk of considering ? Sirrah, Sirrah, I never confider'd in all my Life. —I'll make it Treason to confider.

Pris. But, I hope your Lordship will hear some Reason

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Judge. D’ye hear how the Scoundrel prates? —What have we to do with Reason? –I’d have you to know, Raskal, we don't sit here to hear Reason; -we go according to Law. -Is our Dinner ready?

Attor. Yes, my Lord.

Judge. Then heark’ee, you Raskal at the Bar, hear me. Sirrah, hear me. -You must suffer, for three Reasons; First, because it is not fit I should sit here as Judge, and no Body be hang'd. Secondly, you must be hang'd, because you have a damn'd hanging Look: -And thirdly, you must be hang'd, because I am hungry, for know, Sirrah, that 'tis a Custom, that whenever the Judge's Dinner is ready before the Tryal is over, the Prisoner is to be hang'd of Course. There's Law for you, ye Dog. So take him away Goaler.

This is the Tryal just as it was related to me; the Design of my letting it down, is only to shew how these Fellows can jest upon Things, the Fear and Dread of which, should make them tremble." (Captain Charles Johnson, The General History of the Pirates, 3rd ed., p. 335-8)

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That would be an interesting and humorist twist.

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It's exactly the way it appears in the 3rd edition of the book! (Well, except for the pirate audience bits.) We could probably add to it - particularly the part where they're deciding who should be judge and what they were going to use in place of the staffs. That would be sort of fun.

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You could create some great props for a mock trial! Even better if you could have a trial with some of the red coats or a nobleman as the prisoner!

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You could create some great props for a mock trial! Even better if you could have a trial with some of the red coats or a nobleman as the prisoner!

Or a terrified, captured magistrate in bedraggled wig coerced to preside at cutlass point.

Staff... rum bottle on a linstock, palm frond, oar...

Holystone as a bible.

Jas. Hook ;)

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With three separate days for 'trying pyrates', we're considering several different trials on different days.

1 - The trial of a pirate by some king's men. This would be a serious trial of captured pirates facing the real possibility of death by hanging and would include several key players of the Mercury on trial with fellow crew members in chains awaiting trial, as well as some players in the crowd.

2 - A ship's trial for some serious infraction and the choosing of the ship's 'liar' for duty at the ship's head. This will be a trial of some infraction such as stealing from a crew mate or falling asleep on duty and the appropriate punishment from the ship's articles. Then the choosing of the ship's liar will follow. Once a week on board ship a 'liar' was chosen by his fellow sailor's to scrub and keep the head (the toilet hole and rope at the forward end of the ship) clean.

3 - I like the idea of the scripted mock trial mentioned by Mission for at least one trial, and it's short enough that we might perform this daily in addition to the others.

We'll work out the details over the next few weeks.

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If you would like to schedule it in we will do a weapons talk covering the development of the flintlock from wheel lock to GAoP flintlock with the weapons to cover it from wheellock, miquelet, snaphaunce, etc. In exchange we would rather not do gate duty or town crier (just Sansanee and Myself) as a part of Cutters crew. This helps to fill the day so that our/cutters crew may not need to do as many shifts at night or as crier that would be very nice.

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Did you mean to post that here? I don't influence gate duty and town crier duty for crew members outside the Mercury.

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I present all day and I still do gate duty. It's just something that has to be done to fulfill our part of the agreement with the fort.

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My bad, I failed to notice that this wasn't in Fort Taylor when it was pulled up under recent postings.

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I present all day and I still do gate duty. It's just something that has to be done to fulfill our part of the agreement with the fort.

Good man. It looks like you and I have the Saturday night detail.

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Two sober guys doing gate duty? How odd will that be...

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We'll recruit some last minute drunks to keep things interesting.

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I'll add my grindstone to the mix, and I'll volunteer for drunkerd at the gate as well, I have a new pike I'd like to tryout....(hee-hee).

Bo

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Okay, things are moving forward on the pirates tried during the King's men trial wherein we are tried for our crimes as pirates before the English. I will most likely be tried as a 'leader', but we need a number of volunteers in chains to be standing in waiting for their turn at trial. If you're willing to be a tried man please volunteer.

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Me. I'll do it. Coming a long way and want to make the most of my time.

Bo

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With three separate days for 'trying pyrates', we're considering several different trials on different days.

1 - The trial of a pirate by some king's men. This would be a serious trial of captured pirates facing the real possibility of death by hanging and would include several key players of the Mercury on trial with fellow crew members in chains awaiting trial, as well as some players in the crowd.

2 - A ship's trial for some serious infraction and the choosing of the ship's 'liar' for duty at the ship's head. This will be a trial of some infraction such as stealing from a crew mate or falling asleep on duty and the appropriate punishment from the ship's articles. Then the choosing of the ship's liar will follow. Once a week on board ship a 'liar' was chosen by his fellow sailor's to scrub and keep the head (the toilet hole and rope at the forward end of the ship) clean.

3 - I like the idea of the scripted mock trial mentioned by Mission for at least one trial, and it's short enough that we might perform this daily in addition to the others.

We'll work out the details over the next few weeks.

On Facebook, the Fort Taylor Pyrates have been talking about Key Lime Pies. The conversation has gotten around to a pie eating contest and then to a pie fight. In the interest of raising revenue, a pie throw could be combined with the trials. The trial could find the person guilty, whereby they would be led over to a stockade. There the fort could sell whip cream pies to be thrown at the guilty party.

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Too Vaudeville.

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Amen to that!

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Sorry, I'll stand in chains, be jailed and executed, but I'll have to draw the line at getting pies thrown at me.

Bo

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I agree that the Pie Fight (if it even happens, and I for one hope it does) should be entirely separate from the skits. The skits are intended to be historical in nature.

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What if we used exploding pies? (runs for cover, dodging explosive epithets...)

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