The Pirate King, Frederic, and Ruth
"The Pirates of Penzance"
Ah, the elusive Leap Day: February 29th.
In years gone by, this is the day when a woman was "allowed" to propose to the man of her choice... and supposedly, he was OBLIGATED to accept her.
Nowadays, we concentrate more on those individuals who were actually born on a Leap Day... and thus, technically, only age ONE year in every FOUR. (Lucky them... Just think of all the cosmetic products and exercise equipment they'll save money on...)
Being a devotee of Gilbert and Sullivan, however, my thoughts stray to one particular operetta every time February 29th rolls around. And that is "The Pirates of Penzance".
Long, LONG story short: the romantic hero of the piece, Frederic, has been forcibly "employed" by a swarthy band of pirates, and the agreement is that he will remain with them until his 21st birthday. Well, of course, the very day this monumental birthday rolls around, he meets and falls in love with Mabel: basically, the first chick he meets as soon as he sets foot on land. They sing, and frolic around, and plan a wonderful future together, until Frederic's childhood care-giver, Ruth, hooks up with Fred's boss, The Pirate King. The two spring the news on Frederic that since he is a LEAP DAY BABY, it is technically not his twenty-first birthday at all, and he is, rather, "A LITTLE BOY OF FIVE!"
QUITE the "Ingenious Paradox", if you ask me-- and a great way to get slave labour out of Freddie until he's well into his eighties. Everything gets sorted out, of course, as it always DOES in these fabulously complicated little mini-operas, and there's lots of good music and joking about in the process... There's also a fantastically prolific Modern-Major General and a gaggle of hilarious Policemen thrown into the mix, so if you ever get a chance to see a production, I highly recommend it.
February 29th... A day of Proposals, and Pirates.
Rawther an unusual combination... and yet strangely... appealing....
Hmmmmmm...... Ah, yes:
Johnny, if you were to sail into my neighbourhood today, I'd "join your crew" for sure. You up for a little Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum???
Hi, diddle dee dee!! A PIRATE'S life for meeeeeeeee!!!
(Hands off, ladies-- I saw him first...)