Captain Hammerhead, a busted ferryboat captain intent on cleaning up the waters of Puget Sound, has built a wooden sailing vessel, The Slimy Eel, and convinced a group of homeless, high school dropouts to be his pirate crew. Their purpose: to board suspicious, possibly polluting boats and confiscate their recyclables as booty. The pirates hijack a yacht chartered for a cultural excursion to the San Juan Islands by Mrs. Pennington’s Private School, a highly exclusive institution for girls. Peter the Punk performs a rap number, enthralling the girls, but Hammerhead orders the "bleating goats,"as he calls them, into the "stinking hole.” Concern for the ladies’ welfare, dissatisfaction with pirate life, and anger with the Captain’s constant orders grows among the crew members until they mutiny.

After the successful mutiny, the Coast Guard buys the Slimy Eel and Hammerhead decides to open a recycling factory. The baby Mrs. Pennington so disgracefully left on a doorstep after her husband deserted her turns out to be Peter the Punk, a crew member. The dropouts recognize the importance of going back to school, and Mrs. Pennington opens her school enrollment to boys.

arrow Production Notes


Characters: 9 m; 10 f; as many m and f as desired for chorus numbers.

Playing Time: Approximately an hour.

Costumes: Captain wears black pirate hat with skull and crossbones, black suit, white shirt with ruffles, black boots, and bushy moustache; in Act III he wears flannel nightshirt and stocking cap. Crew members wear individualized pirate outfits, including rain boots, striped T-shirts, sweat shirts, vests, cut-off jeans, sailor hats, headbands, earrings, bandannas, and woolen caps. Mack wears yachting hat. Benny wears cap with bird on it; in Act II (Scene 2) he wears yellow raincoat and southwester hat. Peter wears punk outfit with earrings, sneakers, and blue hair. Sam's shoes are always untied. Eddy carries spyglass in pocket.Mrs. Pennington wears severely tailored suit, gloves, sturdy shoes and hat with flower sticking up; she carries purse containing roll book and pitch pipe. Miss Bug wears mousy blouse and skirt, granny glasses, dark stockings and flat shoes; she carries butterfly net. Miss Muscle wears sweat shirt with “Pennington’s Private School” stenciled across front, baseball cap, slacks or shorts, athletic shoes, whistle, hanging from cord around neck; in Act II she wears large, dirty shirt, pirate bandanna on head, and patch over one eye. Students wear uniforms: white blouses, dark blue skirts, and red ties. Joey has socks pulled up and shirttail out. Martina has braids. Alice has glasses and carries almanac. Pamela carries notebook and a pencil for writing poetry.

Properties: weapons (wooden or rubber swords, rubber knives, croquet mallet); frying pan and large spoon; three labeled bags: "Aluminum," “Tin” and "Glass;" trunk labeled "Paper to Recycle;" sign reading "Automatic Pilot;" deck cleaning items (mops, scrub brushes, rags, pails, etc.); lantern and map; glass offstage for Benny to gurgle into; life preserver with "The Slimy Eel" printed on it; rope ladder; stuffed cloth fish; bottle labeled "Castor Oil;" paper for radio message.

Setting: Blue sky backdrop with clouds and sea gulls; upstage railing with operational gate; painting of ship's hull attached below stage; lower edge of sail, rope stays, and bottom of mast visible below proscenium arch; ship wheel attached to mast; lifeboat (large enough to contain four huddled people) labeled "Dirty Worm," with tarp covering; stage dressed with boxes, kegs, ropes, sails, etc.

Lighting: Regular lighting for Acts I and II (Scene 1). Act II (Scene 2) opens with dawn, gradually brightening to full daylight by sound of three bells. Suggest using flood and changing gels.

Sound: Opening battle noises (cap gun shots, crashing boards, clashing swords etc.); trunk falling (drop suitcase of broken glass and cans); ship bell (hit triangle); taped noises of Benny falling into sea. All sounds at times indicated in script.


arrow Selected Audio Excerpts performed by "Side by Side"
Pennington's Private School (Mrs. Pennington, Staff, and Students
Captured by Pirates (Students and Teachers)
A Nauti Captain I Am (Captain and Crew)
Many Strange Sights We've Seen (Crew)