Steve Gooch - Playwright Dramatist Author Writer Editor

The Women Pirates: Script Excerpt

A play about the notorious women pirates of the Caribbean Anne Bonney and Mary Read. Beginning with Mary being passed off as her brother to get hold of his inheritance, while Ann takes after her fiery and adulterous Irish father, we follow the lives of the two women over 20 years.

The Women Pirates featuring Charles Dance Women Pirates Royal Shakespeare Company Poster

(above: Charles Dance as Blackie / Vosquin) in Royal Shakespeare Company production, Aldwych Theatre, London, UK, 1978 )

(February 1720. Aboard Jack Rackham's ship off the Caymans. MARY READ comes on disguised as a pirate, followed by Rackham.)

Rackham: Where you goin', Read?

Mary: I was off to the Heads.

Rackham: This time of night?

Mary: I got funny bowels.

Rackham: I been watchin' you, Read. You're always sneakin' off, always on your own. Three weeks at sea an' I never seen you take a dip with the others. You ought to stink like a barrel of seaweed. What's your secret?

Mary: I get by.

(Pause. RACKHAM lights a pipe)

Rackham: You know what you're among, Read. Sailors who've been treated like shit by the Navy. White labourers worse off than black slaves. Misfits, blokes out for a good time. A blotchy birthmark on the British Empire's spreading arse.

Mary: So?

Rackham: The arse's got a Navy, we just got each other. Equality, solidarity - our only strength.

Mary: I know that.

Rackham: I know you know that. It shows. But you still make yourself out different.

Mary: I don't try to.

Rackham: What you got there? (Grabs at her shirt)

Mary: (Backs away hastily) Only paper!

Rackham: What you scared of? (Short pause) Why paper?

Mary: Use me hands should I?

Rackham: Not tinder?

Mary: What for?

Rackham: Signals.

Mary: I'm not a spy!

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