Capt’n Stragglybeard’s Apprentice
by Barbara Henderson
Only two characters, so ideal for a single puppeteer to perform.
You will need:
- A pirate puppet ideally with beard/hook
- A boy (or girl) puppet – just adapt the script if female
- Some pirate music (lots on Youtube)
- 2 fruit nets, one of them ripped.
- A piece of white cloth
- A chopstick and string to make mini mop
- A piece of paper as job list
- Socks/a few sprouts
- Hot water bottle
- Paper tissue
- Bubbles/Air freshener (optional)
Pirate-type Music – fades out as CURTAIN OPENS to Capt’s Stragglybeard’s (CS) shouting.
CS: That’s it! You’re useless. Worse than useless – ye’re a landlubber! Off ma ship, or I’ll make ye walk the plank!
Boy: Arh-harr, but Capt’n… please! Please give me one more chance – I’ll prove to you I can truly be a pirate! Aharr!
CS: Don’t make me laugh! Ye can’t shoot, and ye can’t burgle; ye can’t drink rum without fainting and ye can’t sail. Lads! Come ‘here and let’s show this ‘ere landlubber the sharks! From the inside!
Boy shivers in fear. Both puppets wait. No-one is coming.
Boy: Erm, Capt’n Stragglybeard, Sir?
CS: (ignores him) LADS! Where’s ma pirate crew!
Boy: (taps him on the shoulder) Erm, Capt’n Stragglybeard, Sir – I think you scared them all away.
CS: (hesitates) What?
Boy: They abandoned ship…
Boy: Look over there, sailing towards the sun on the raft? That’s them. You’re scarier than the sea, more revolting than the rat poo in the ship’s hold, scrappier than the skeletons in the cabin cupboard… (Realises what he has said and ducks, but Capt’n S. is very pleased)
CS: (Touched) Do you really think so? (Remembers what went before and shouts) Don’t ye flatter me, ye landlubber, ye water rat, ye sloppy scallop! But as ye’re clearly intelligent, I might give you ONE MORE CHANCE! One, do ye hear? Take this! These ‘ere be the pirate jobs that need a-doing! (Hands boy the list)
Boy: Aharr, Captain Stragglybeard. Aye aye!
CS: No more mistakes. Ye can’t be half-hearted as a pirate. Ye’ve gotta be scary and hairy and sweary. Now, would ye kindly fetch me ma hot water bottle – even a pirate needs his naps. Thank you very much.
Boy: AYE AYE Capt’n Stragglybeard! (Capt’n leaves with hot water bottle, yawning)
Boy (to audience, shakes his head): Well, kids. He thinks he’s so tough and brave. But look at this mess – the ship is covered in rotten cabbages (could throw out brussels sprouts to audience) and stinky socks (throws out socks). Yuk, look! Even a used hanky (paint disgusting yellow and green onto a clean tissue for the yuk effect – throws out). This ship needs cleaning. The Capt’n will love it! Think how pleased he’ll be!
(Hopefully audience will protest – engage with this!)
Boy: This deck need a-scrubbing: Sacred Seagull Slime! It’s sickening! (Mops. A mini-mop is easily made with string loops and a chopstick. Blowing bubbles from behind the booth/stage can be lovely and unexpected for the audience, as can be spraying air freshener to make it smell clean!)
CS: (snores off-stage)
Boy: The Captain will be sooo pleased. What next! (looks around again) Aharr. (Produces damaged rigging made from fruit netting) That ripped rigging needs a-fixing! It’s got more splits and slashes and gashes than….than I don’t know what ! What I do know is this – (pretends to knot, wriggling netting up and down) with a little knotting and stretching and setting and stitching; it’s as good as new. Aharr! (Holds up perfect version of fruit net).
CS: (continues to snore off-stage)
Boy: And before I look at that list (throw list behind him), I should probably take a look at the sails, too. Right – here they are (any bit of white cloth will do for this). Och, they’re the wrong shape altogether, and they should be up there, hanging with the rest of them. (Looks up, sighs and produces scissors) No-one here but me to sort it all out! Just you wait – I’ll be the best pirate apprentice the Capt’n has ever had! (Cuts cloth)
(Audience might protest. Encourage!)
CS: (Snores, snorts, coughs, splutters off-stage): Hmm where am I? Who am I? What am I… (wakes up properly) Aharr, me hearties! Ah’m a PIRATE CAPTAIN!
Boy: Oh no! (panics) I’ve done all these jobs, and I never once looked at the list from the Capt’n! He’s going to toss me to the sharks for definite. Where’s the list? (Runs around frantically) Tell me, kids, please! Where is it? I’ve gotta find…
CS: (appears, waving the jobs list the apprentice dropped) Looking for this?
Boy: (Shrinks away and quivers): Ahem, yes Capt’n Stragglybeard, Sir.
CS: Let’s see: Task number one: scrub the filthy smelly slimy deck. (Checks the deck while the boy looks surprised) Not too bad – for a landlubber!
Boy: Erm, I tried my hardest…
CS: SILENCE! Next: fix the rigging. (Picks up the intact netting. Surprised) Not too bad, lad!
Boy: (Equally surprised) Yes, that was quite hard to do, if you don’t mind me saying so, Sir.
CS: SILENCE! Third…
Boy: (Eager) Fix the sails?
CS: NO! The sails are fine, ye flea-festering fish food… (points at list in his hand) … No, task number three is: get rid of the hideous tablecloth my grandma sent me. (Faces the audience) Did he do that?
Boy: (Quickly produces the cloth he cut up earlier) Shh, kids, you won’t say anything, will ye? Pirate promise?
(Throws cloth overboard. Super-effective with a splash SFX if you can get it!)
I did indeed, Capt’n! Oh yes!
CS: Then ye may be my pirate apprentice! Well done, ma boy! Aharr. Give it a pirate High-hook!
Boy: (Looks at Captain’s hook and hesitates) Erm …
CS: Alright, ma heartie – a high five then (uses other hand)! Let’s celebrate with some rum!
Boy: Rum? (sways and collapses over side of booth/stage in shock as Capt’n drinks and pirate music FADES IN).