Pirate ahoy!

Lee Green (aka Pirate Captain Greybeard)

PHOTOs courtesy of Lee Green

Lee Green recently moved to Paradise from Southern California and opened his business as pirate-for-hire. Green, 54, transforms into Pirate Captain Greybeard for parties and events. Around the holidays, he becomes Santa Claus. In addition to a diverse background in theater, Green has worked in network repair, printing and graphics, property preservation and management, insurance—“and a few other jobs, whatever came up,” he said. Green can be reached at 636-0706, fun@jollyfolly.net or online at www.jollyfolly.net.

How did you get into this business?

As with most pirates, my profession grew from necessity. Having lost my job, and finding no viable options to replace it, I turned to the talents I have, in order to coerce an income out of those surrounding me—by cunning and wits—without having to create a product, or do any real work. I also became Santa—but that was inevitable, as I have a very gray beard. I was sitting in church one day and a small boy in front of me kept looking back at me. When his mother told him to sit still, he whispered, “But Mom, it’s Santa!”

Have you always been a theatrical person?

On and off … I was always a weird sort of kid, but very shy. Humor became a defense mechanism. I came to learn that you could hide in plain sight by simply becoming someone else. I didn’t take drama in school. I took debate, which incorporated many of the same skills. I learned presentation, reflexes, thinking on your feet, and having a large store of material from which to choose. I worked in a number of small community productions, and eventually became a performer at the Southern California Renaissance Pleasure Faire for many years. I performed Shakespeare. I portrayed a sword-fighter, a nobleman, a merchant, a peasant, and engaged in countless hours of impromptu street performance.

What kinds of places do you appear in costume?

I’ll wear a costume anywhere. I’ve done a lot of historical reenactment. I’ve done street performance, parties, shows, weddings, and I’ve even worn a costume to a funeral. I keep expecting to see myself show up some day on the “People of Walmart” webpage, as I have no problem running into a store on my way to or from a performance.

What’s the most unusual thing that’s happened doing this work?

Once I was doing a public sword-fighting demonstration. My partner was my instructor in sword-fighting, and was considerably better than I was. I was losing, and quite obviously so. So I decided to turn the tables. I had a replica wheel-lock pistol, which I decided to use to my advantage. However, as I drew the pistol in haste, it caught on my belt and flew out of my hand, landing directly at the feet of my opponent, who quickly picked it up and turned it on me. Hoist with my own petard!

What’s your best pirate joke?

There once was a pirate called Greybeard / Whom everyone thought was quite weird / Because his 14 wives / Weren’t frightened by knives / ’Twas his ticklish whiskers they feared!