Play: Pirate Folklore

On April 13, 2018 I attended the play Peter and the Starcatcher at the Long Beach Playhouse Theaters. Written by Rick Elice, it was based on the book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and directed by Gregory Cohen. The play is a prequel to the iconic story of Peter Pan, providing the origins for several of the characters of the story, including Hook, Tinker Bell and Peter Pan himself. The play is set in Neverland and opens up with orphan Peter, being called Slank at the time, being sold into some kind of slavery or indentured service to the King Rundoon. This is what sets the stage for his ongoing hatred of adults that stays with him through the original story.
The main piece of folklore that I wanted to explore in depth for this assignment was a story within the larger play about Black Stache, who is reminiscent of the folklore about the infamous Black Beard. Black Stache is first introduced by the character of Smee, played by Jazzy Jones, is Captain Hook’s loyal servant. After taking the Wasp hostage, Smee tells the Captain Scott the legend of Black Stache, which is quite reminiscent of Black Beard. Smee’s monologue is meant to instill fear into the crew so that they fear the elusive figure and plays into the folklore of the figure of Black Beard.
He calls Black Stache “the prince of darkness, our satanic satanic supervisor, foul and nasty with a cloven hoof.” Smee tells the Captain that you can recognize Black Stache by his “celebrated mouth brow, that’s how.” Then, Black Stache, played by William Ardelean, arrives himself and reaffirms all the folklore that Smee has just announced about him. He calls himself “a pirate with scads of pinash wants the key to the trunk with the cash” and tells the crew the he is a “blood thirsty outlaw.”
Interestingly, the play connects this character of Black Stache to Captain Hook, as Black Stache later becomes Hook when he loses his hand later in the play. I found this incredibly interesting, as Smee is elaborate in his tale of Black Stache and the horror he inflicts on the high seas. Thus, the play is harkening back to real folklore tales and placing the story of Captain Hook into these legends as a way to further provide depth and legitimacy to his character. It is an interesting development for Captain Hook’s character and I feel an innovative spin on an old folklore legend.