An Awfully Big Adventure: Week 10, Dallas; “Talk Like A Pirate”


Jean de Béthencourt

Written by Joey deBettencourt

Everyone is back together again in Dallas, we are at the big, beautiful Winspear Opera House and it feels good.  It’s hard to explain but this week really feels like tour; our weeks in Denver felt more like a home base in some ways.  We had our tech there and knew the staff and city really well by the end of our time.  Now we have a brand new city with a brand new feel and after one night’s sleep we had a full run through followed by a show. Everything is moving fast.

Also, because we are only here for two weeks, all of our press events are bunched up together.  Yesterday Megan and I had press interviews from about 7am until about 11am  and I am about to head to another one in an hour or so. We also have a bunch of events today because it is “National Talk Like A Pirate Day.” They’re sending me to do a NTLAPD event not only because I play a pirate in the show but I am a true descendant of a real pirate.

That’s right, you heard me, I have pirate blood in me.

Here’s a little pirate story for you:

The year is 1402 and one Jean de Béthencourt is leading and expedition to the Canary Islands.  While his story appears to be that of any old explorer, Jean was a bit crazier, a bit trickier…a bit more pirate-y.  It is even rumored that he killed the man who etched his portrait because he didn’t like it.

Now, on his way out of port his ship was poorly provisioned and so he robbed a neighboring ship (through sneakery) and then set sail with their goods.  Then, like any good Spanish seafarer, once arriving in the Canary Islands he proclaimed himself king over the native inhabitants. This quickly lead to an extremely bloody war. In an account by a Franciscan monk who was traveling with them, Jean at one point even defeated a giant. He was fighting the native forces (who, it should be mentioned, were mostly shepherds) when they brought out their greatest warrior: a huge giant. Being the crafty pirate he was he slew him easily! This conflict would wage for years and years and it didn’t even end after Jean was defeated in battle.  Luckily his nephew Maciot took up his piratical leanings and decided that he would sell the islands to Portugal despite them already technically being owned by Spain.  This then caused another war and Maciot ran off with all the money.  The Pope had to step in to settle the conflict and Maciot happily lived the rest of his days pirating about the Azores with oodles of money.


Now, of course, if you look this up on a site like Wikipedia or something, you get some bland milk-toast version of this story with no giants or anything, but as we say in our show: “Pity the child who lives in a fact-based world.”

Author’s note: At the interview I did for “National Talk Like A Pirate Day”, they did not mention pirates at all and I didn’t get to tell my fun pirate story.

About Samantha S.

"I found the theatre and I found my home.” ― Audra McDonald

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