DO YOU SEA ME? Dazzles with Pirate Humour, Illusion and Fireball Juggling

Photo taken by: Anton Blume / Gascoyne in May 2018

Local pirate Michael Speranza promises that his most clichéd and piratical show of all time will give audience members the urge to respond with a satisfied “AAARGHHH” once they have seen it. Do You SEA Me?, which will be on every night from 6:30pm on Friday January 18 to Monday January 21 at The Black Flamingo, Yagan Square for FRINGE WORLD, is an extravaganza of pirate sea shanties, magical LED light spinning, fire ball juggling, acts of illusion and pirate humour. Well known to Fringe-goers young and old for his Pirateman antics on the streets and after selling out previous shows at FRINGE WORLD, he explains to BRAYDEN EDWARDS why Google Maps may not be the best way to find buried treasure.

A lot of us dreamed of being a pirate as kids but grew out of it. As someone who clearly didn’t, how and when did you know you were called to a live the pirate life?

It was around the second half of 2012. I was volunteering for a not-for-profit magazine as an editor, blog writer, graphic designer, youth mentor, yeah I did a lot of work! I started performing around May 2011 to make a bit of income while volunteering as I had my heart set on my childhood dream of being a video game designer, but was realistic and thought graphic design would be a suitable replacement. In the second half of 2012, there was a spike of work for me as a children’s entertainer who was a pirate/circus performer as well as a fire spinner for parties. It eventually grew until I was at a point where I had to choose between the two. I ultimately chose to live the dream that was presented in front of me and very much take the wheel of my own hard work rather than someone else’s. I still love inspiring youth to achieve what they want to and I’ve been doing it through piracy ever since!

Do You SEA Me? is said to be your most ‘clichéd’ pirate show yet. What are you bringing this time round to upstage those that came before?

It’s primarily the sea shanties. I am not the best singer, but sea shanties are for those that can keep a tune and work to a beat, it’s why they were used back in the days of sailing (and are still used today). The story of the show is pretty straight forward too. You’ll have to see it to know what it’s about.

I bet you’ve got a chest full of golden pirate puns and jokes to draw from as well, any you can share with us?

My favourite pirate pun of all time was given to me by another FRINGE WORLD pirate, “Freaky Frank”. You can find him generally next to the mermaid tank handing out chocolate gold coins over the weekends.

“Why can a pirate never finish the alphabet? Because they always get lost at C.”

How do you think Pirateman would have gone on the high seas back in the day with the real pirates?

I say this often to my wonderful fiancée who still supports the pirate life I live… Pirateman is the worst pirate! He is too caring of others and always shares his secrets, his treasures, his everything! Plus his mast sails the opposite direction, so his enemy’s can see him as he passes them. Pirateman would totally be the nerdy pirate and be generally picked on by the other pirates. He already gets picked on by faeries.

I imagine some of your other special skills might have set you apart. If they were making you walk the plank what trick would you pull out of the bag to save yourself?

Contact juggling is my strongest skill set and my most well known here in Perth. For those that don’t know, contact juggling is what David Bowie’s hands do in the movie “The Labyrinth” (as they were the hands of renowned juggler Michael Moschen). I perform with up to nine contact balls at once and standing on a wooden plank on the edge of a pirate ship would be more impressive, I would hope…

A live audience can probably be just as intimidating sometimes, what can you tell us about your time as performer and when have you had to triumph against the odds?

100% agree! There was one time in 2018 I travelled to perform at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in Victoria. It was a great festival but the kids at times were… uncultivated. A lot of street performers and kids entertainers really struggled with taming the children, it may have been because they had microphones and spoke. Most of the time Pirateman doesn’t speak into a microphone, so when I broke character, stopped the music and told one boy off for being too interruptive he was just gobsmacked. I went straight back into character as though nothing happened. For the rest of the festival I had an amazing crowd each show, my LED shows were super popular at Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Finally, is finding the treasure any easier these days with Google Maps and all, or does it still elude you?

I am incredibly lucky to have found treasure in the form of a super incredible fiancée and a family of kittens and a bunny! But to those who seek their treasure I say the adventure you go on is the greatest treasure in all of the world. Nothing beats a good old adventure, you get to meet new people/make new friends, find new places, create wonderful memories, try new things and most importantly become a better person. You never needed Google maps to do that, but it’s a good idea to touch in with your family every now and again to let them know you are okay and adventuring strong!