THE PIRATE LADY A proposal for a two part historical drama television miniseries by Christene and Ran Cartwright
THE PIRATE LADY Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS........................................ 1 INTRODUCTION............................................. 2 SUBPLOT BACKGROUND HISTORY............................... 2 FLASHBACK STORYLINES..................................... 2 PRIMARY LOCALES (SETS)................................... 4 SECONDARY LOCALES (SETS)................................. 4 ASSORTED LOCALES (SETS).................................. 5 THE PLAYERS.............................................. 5 THE MINISERIES........................................... 7
3 INTRODUCTION It’s 1775, and an old woman, Anna Burleigh, sits amidst a group of gathered grandchildren. They are anxious, excited, waiting to hear the story of the pirate lady. Grandma Burleigh doesn’t disappoint them. THE PIRATE LADY is the true story of Anne Bonny. The story begins in Kinsale, Ireland in 1705 with Anne age five, and follows her story through her capture and trial for piracy in 1721 at age twenty one. From Kinsale, Ireland, to Charles Town, South Carolina, to the pirate haven of Nassau on New Providence Island in the Bahamas, we follow Anne Bonny the socialite, the rapscallion, and the pirate. The storyline follows Anne’s life and adventures, meeting such individuals as Governor Woodes Rogers, low life and minor pirate James Bonny, socialite Chidley Bayard, pirates Captain Jennings and Calico Jack, and fellow female pirate Mary Reed. Eventually her luck runs out. She, Mary Reed, Calico Jack, and a small crew of pirates are captured and brought to trial. Anne could face death if found guilty. SUBPLOT BACKGROUND HISTORY There are a number of subplots that are woven into the fabric of the principle storyline, ie., the life of Anne Bonny. One of these subplots is the story of Calico Jack Rackham and his eventual demise. A series of subplots integral to the storyline are Anne’s relationships with the various male characters be they Calico Jack, James Bonny, Chidley Bayard, and her father (among others). These relationships all play a part in making Anne the person she became. Another subplot is the introduction and brief story of Mary Read, another female pirate. All the while there are the tragic (some would say) events that transpire due to the wild and careless lifestyle the pirates lead. FLASHBACK STORYLINES Although the story begins in 1775 in a brief scene with Anna Burleigh, the flashback to 1705 begins a sequential storyline that continues until 1721 before returning to 1782 at the conclusion of the second script. Sequential flashback...
4 1705 – This begins our story with five year old Anne Brennan coming to live with her father. Born illegitimate to attorney William Cormac and housemaid Mary Brennan, this sets the stage for a scandal that brings Cormac down, and the family’s relocation from Ireland to America. 1715 – William Cormac, Mary Brennan, and daughter Anne have made a comfortable life in Charles Town, South Carolina. Cormac has made good with a plantation. Anne has grown up both a socialite and tomboy, and delights at the stories she hears of adventures and piracy in the Caribbean. 1716 – Misfortune befalls Anne with an attempted rape. She finds comfort and solace in the company of lowlife minor pirate James Bonny. They elope, Bonny secretly planning to acquire the plantation through his marriage to Anne. However, upon hearing of the marriage, Anne’s father disowns her, leaving her penniless. The couple flees Charles Town for the pirate haven of Nassau on New Providence Island in the Bahamas. 1716 to 1720 – Anne becomes more and more involved with pirates, attempts to woo a socialite (richest man on the island) while husband James Bonny becomes a turncoat and spies on the pirates for the governor. This brings James Bonny head to head with Calico Jack Rackham. In the end, Jack Rackham, Mary Reed, Anne Bonny, and other pirates steal a sloop in Nassau Harbor and set out to sea. 1720 – After two months at sea, raiding small ships and fishing vessels, Calico Jack and his crew lay anchor off Cuba’s east coast. Drunk in the hold, the pirates are beset by Captain Barnet who has been sent out to capture them. Only Anne and Mary attempt to defend the ship, but are overwhelmed. The pirates are captured and brought back to Nassau to stand trial for piracy. 1720 – November – Anne Bonny and Mary Read stand trial and are convicted. However, Anne and Mary plead their “bellies,” ie., they are pregnant, and are given prison sentences until their babies are born.
5 1721 – The remaining pirates are tried. Calico Jack and his fellow pirates are sentenced to death. Mary dies in prison before her child is born. Anne’s father buys her freedom, and returns with her to Charles Town, South Carolina where she marries Joseph Burleigh and lives out the remainder of her life. The storyline returns to 1775 and is brought to a conclusion with the elderly Anna Burleigh finishing the story of the pirate lady for her grandchildren. PRIMARY LOCALES (SETS) These are places (sets) that tend to have a recurring presence in the series. The Quayside Tavern – A favored hangout for pirates and smugglers in Nassau. Governor Woodes Roger’s Palace/Office – a typical governor’s palace/officer of the day on New Providence Island. Cormac Plantation – a typical plantation of the day in South Carolina near “Charles Town.” Little is seen of the plantation grounds except for the entrance, and road leading to it. Interior scenes mostly involve the dining area, Cormac’s study, and Anne’s room. Charles Town Dockside – a seedy run down area with taverns. Frequented by sailors and pirates alike. The place draws all manner of human debris. The William – the ship stolen by Calico Jack, the women, and his crew. SECONDARY LOCALES (SETS) Cormac’s Irish Estate – where Anne lives at an early age before the family moves to America. Moderate size dwelling befitting a somewhat well-to-do lawyer. St. Jago de la Vega (Spanish Town) Courtroom – where the pirates are put on trial.
6 Port Royal, Jamaica Dockside – where Calico Jack is executed. Dead Man’s Cay – where Calico Jack’s body is gibbeted. ASSORTED LOCALES (SETS) Assorted locales appear as needed, including various Charles Town and New Providence Island locales, beaches, roads, ship upon which the Cormac family sails to America, etc. THE PLAYERS The Players listed include principle and supporting recurring characters. Principle Characters include: Anne Cormac/Anne Bonny – “The Pirate Lady.” This is the historic Anne Bonny, both pirate and socialite. In this story Anne appears at various stages of her life, as a young child at age 5, as a teen to early womanhood at age 13 to 21, and as an elderly lady at age 75. She can be a socialite when she wants to, but she spends most of her time and life as a wild, sometimes violent, tomboy. The wild and violent side of Anne comes to fruition as she takes up with pirates, ultimately becoming a pirate herself. Anna Burleigh – Anne as an elderly woman who tells the story of the pirate lady to her grandchildren; she has kept her past a secret and no one knows that she is, in fact, the pirate lady. Mary Reid – Roughly 27 years of age, Mary is a female pirate, and a friend and acquaintance of Calico Jack. She is brash, wild, and violent, much like Anne Bonny. Captain John “Calico Jack” Rackham – 37 years of age (when executed in 1720); variously a pirate quartermaster and captain. He is a dashing man in fine and flashy clothing, and a lady’s man. James Bonny – Anne’s first husband; Bonny is a no good lazy, loser, turn coat, snitch, pirate, and other assorted characteristics, trying to live off of others.
7 Governor/Captain Woodes Rogers – Former privateer, explorer, adventurer, and now Governor of the Bahamas. William Cormac – Anne’s father. Supporting Characters include: Mary Brennan – Cormac Housemaid, Anne’s mother Captain Vane – Captain of the Guards – Military officer in service to Governor Rogers. Governor Sir Nicholas Lawes – Governor of Jamaica. Captain Jonathan Barnet – Captain of the ship Tyger; sent to bring in Calico Jack and Co. Barnet is former pirate turned pirate hunter. Chidley Baynard – Wealthiest man on the island, Baynard is a socialite that Anne teams up with to improve her social standing. Anne’s past and violent misfortunes doom this relationship. Pierre Bouspeut/Pierre Devlin/Peter Bosket/Pierre the Pansy Pirate – a friend that runs a coffee shop, hairdressing and dressmaking shop; a designer of fine velvet and silk clothing. George Fetherston – Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Richard Corner - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. John Davies - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. John Howell - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Thomas Bourn - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Noah Harwood - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William.
8 James Dobbins - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Patrick Carry - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Thomas Earl - Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. John Fenwick – Friend of Rackham and a member of Rackham’s crew on the William. Lawyer – Charles Town friend of William Cormac. Lawyer’s Son – Son of Charles Town lawyer, attempts to rape Anne. THE MINISERIES The following are very brief story descriptions of the two scripts. PART 1 – Elderly Anna Burleigh is surrounded by numerous grandchildren. She’s telling them stories, and they want to hear the story of the pirate lady, a story she has told numerous times before. She begins the story…