Butt Pirates

S.F.'s captain of theatrical camp, Sean Owens, explores the sexuality of fabled seafarers with mixed results

On the other hand, some of the show's shortcomings might also be considered virtues. The ambiguities of the plot and the shadiness of Dark make us aware of the fictions we create to make the world make sense. The murkiness and confusion might equally be seen as brilliant metaphors for society's general inability to cope with the idea of gay pirates — or gay anything for that matter — and the desire of closeted homosexuals to keep the closet doors slammed shut. As Lynch puts it in one of his most eloquent yet ironically least self-knowing moments: "Truth may feed a poet's soul, but to a layman it is both skim milk and clotted cream, both too thin and too rich for the blood."

In this one-man show, Sean Owens (above) explores the legacy of gentleman pirate Black Dick.
Laurie Gallant
In this one-man show, Sean Owens (above) explores the legacy of gentleman pirate Black Dick.

Details

Written and performed by Sean Owens. Directed by Kenny Shults. Through June 30 at Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy St. (between Mason and Taylor), S.F. Tickets are $12-20; call 673-3847 or visit www.theexit.org.

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Owens' play doesn't ultimately bring us any closer to knowing whether any openly queer pirates roamed the seven seas. But it does help us to understand something about the power of myth. I stopped believing the rumors about Captain Pugwash long ago. But that doesn't prevent the imaginary version starring Roger the Cabin Boy and Seaman Staines from prevailing in my mind.

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