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Theatre / Captain Sabertooth

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"I knew it had to be me — the great Captain Sabertooth — who got to be in this picture."

Captain Sabertooth ("Kaptein Sabeltann" in the original Norwegian) is the star of a number of Norwegian theatrical plays by writer/actor Terje Formoe. The plays have been running every summer since 1990, and are shown at night on the outdoors stage at Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park, and for the first ten years Formoe himself played the titular character before he decided to focus on his job backstage instead. (He did play the role again for a single season in 2010, and still occasionally portrays the Captain in guest appearances.)

Captain Sabertooth, the self-declared King of the Seven Seas, is the captain of the pirate ship The Dark Lady, and with his crew terrorizes the seven seas in the hunt for gold and riches, but his main goal is to find the treasure of Gory Gabriel, the former pirate king. The second protagonist of the plays is Tiny, a young boy who was brought up by the pirates and works as their galley boy, and who has two goals: To show Captain Sabertooth that he can be a real pirate, and to find out what happened to his father, who vanished.


There are all in all seven separate plays, though two of them are reworkings and combinations of earlier plays:

  • Captain Sabertooth and the Treasure of Luna Bay, first shown in 1990.
  • Captain Sabertooth and the Secret of Luna Bay, first shown in 1994.
  • Captain Sabertooth and the Hunt for the Magic Diamond, first shown in 1996.
  • Captain Sabertooth and the Treasure of Luna Bay, first shown in 1998 (combines the two first plays into one).
  • Captain Sabertooth and the Enchanted Island, first shown in 2000.
  • Captain Sabertooth and Gory Gabriel's Treasure, first shown in 2004 (adaptation of the animated movie, which was based on the 1998 play).
  • Captain Sabertooth and the Secret of the Sea, first shown in 2011.

In addition, all the plays have been reworked and rewritten for every season they were performed — new songs and new characters were added, other songs and characters were removed, lines and plot threads and details were changed. The Hunt for the Magic Diamond in particular went through such heavy changes that it's pretty much three separate plays with similar stories but wildly different details.


The chronology of the plays seems to be as follows: Gory Gabriel's Treasure, The Enchanted Island, The Secret of the Sea and finally the third version of The Hunt for the Magic Diamond, with the three Luna Bay plays alternate versions of the events of Gory Gabriel's Treasure.

For more about the various characters and franchise-wide tropes, see the franchise page.

Provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronism Stew: The stage plays probably have more of them than any other versions of the franchise. Many of them come from Benjamin, whose comments and wisecracks often include distinctly modern-day concepts which none of the other characters seem to get, and which tend to anger Captain Sabertooth.
    Captain Sabertooth: This brain-dead fool was asleep on guard duty again!
    Benjamin: I wasn't asleep, I was doing Sudoku!

    Captain Sabertooth: We didn't come here to eat cake!
    Benjamin: But the cake's been approved by the European Union!
    (alt: "But it's gluten-free, Captain, you know you've had some problems with —")
  • Apron Matron: Aunt Bessie.
  • The Artifact: A couple of the original songs don't quite fit the retooled stage plays, but are included anyway because they're so iconic. A particular mention has to go to Tiny's "I Am" Song — this was the song that he sang in his very first appearance in The Treasure of Luna Bay and served as an introduction to his character, where he explains that he's a pirate because he grew up as one and that plundering and stealing is the only thing he knows how to do. It fit perfectly for his character in that play — but in the re-tool, Gory Gabriel's Treasure, not so much. For one thing, here Tiny has been on-stage since the beginning, and a big part of his character has been to lament that he's just a galley boy whose main job is to peel potatoes, and who isn't allowed to join in on the plundering and stealing, and proves to be much too soft-hearted to be any good at it when he does get the chance.
  • Bald of Evil: You wouldn't know it most of the time, but it's revealed in the very first play that Captain Sabertooth is actually bald. His long black hair is a wig.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Happens occasionally in the stage plays, most usually during song numbers, like when characters approach the stage through the audience; they'll occasionally stop to greet an audience member or other. There are a couple of more blatant examples, though:
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Benjamin is actually one of the smarter and more competent of the crew members, but most often can't be bothered to put in much effort.
  • Canon Immigrant: Tully. He was introduced in the first animated movie, mostly as a plot device; he was essentially there to be the lousy ship's cook that Happy Jack could replace. The comic potential of a Giftedly Bad Lethal Chef seems to have appealed to the creator, though, because after the movie Tully was integrated in the stage plays and became a fairly central character.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Captain Sabertooth has a couple, for different situations. If he thinks things aren't happening fast enough, he'll say "I hate waiting!" Whenever a treasure chest is opened, he'll order one of his men (usually Wally or Benjamin) to "open that chest before I croak from the anticipation." When someone slights him or one of his antagonists has the upper hand, he'll always threaten: "My vengeance shall be gruesome and merciless!"
    • Red Rudy is prone to call out "walk the plank and jump in the sea!" when excited, startled or moved.
    • Benjamin has "Oh, you meant now," and variations thereof, usually said when Captain Sabertooth and/or Longfinger tells him to get a move on.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: A couple of the minor characters from earlier plays or earlier versions of plays are dropped later on.
    • Veronica's pet shark Ravenous is there in the first play, and in Gory Gabriel's Treasure, but in later plays he's not even alluded to... even in situations where a pet shark really would come in handy.
    • Benjamin's brother Odin quietly vanished around the same time Tully was first introduced to the stage plays. This might have something to do with how Tully was originally played by the same actor who played Odin.
  • Damsel in Distress: Veronica, on a few occasions — though not nearly as often as you might think. While hardly an Action Girl, she is more likely to play a big part in saving the day, than she is to be in need of saving.
  • Defector from Decadence: Tiny in the very first version of Treasure of Luna Bay starts out as an unscrupulous pirate but ends up changing sides because Veronica shows him kindness. In the later retoolings he's more of a Token Good Teammate all along; being the galley boy who desperately wants to be acknowledged as a pirate but ending up having scruples when he realizes that being a pirate means stealing things, and that "these people are nice people and they need their treasure themselves" doesn't count as a valid argument with Captain Sabertooth.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Red Rudy is probably the most notable example. In the first version of The Treasure of Luna Bay and The Secret of Luna Bay, Rudy is one of the main characters and his Will They or Won't They? with Aunt Bessie is given quite a bit of attention. When the plays were reworked to focus more on the pirates and less on the people of Luna Bay, Rudy ended up as a fairly minor character. He's still there, as a sort of father-figure to Veronica and somewhat of an unofficial leader for the people of Luna Bay (their elected mayor prefers more of a Head-in-the-Sand Management style of government), and he and Aunt Bessie are the only ones who actually believe Veronica's warnings that pirates are coming... but he's not really relevant to the plot, and in some plays like The Secret of the Sea he doesn't even appear.
    • To an extent, all the people of Luna Bay except for Veronica get far less attention in the later plays. Veronica remains a main character in all the stage plays, even the ones that don't take place in Luna Bay (she usually ends up coming along with Tiny on whatever journey he undertakes), though in the spin-offs she often doesn't appear. (In some productions, like the TV series and the movie The Treasure of Lama Rama which both serve as Broad Strokes prequels to the plays, she doesn't appear at all and her role is essentially filled by Raven).
  • Disguised in Drag: Benjamin does this on occasion, sometimes getting stuck with Tully as "her" husband.
  • Disney Villain Death: Subverted with Happy Jack, who appears to have fallen to his death after his duel with Caprtain Sabertooth, but later on proves to have survived and comes back for a second final confrontation.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the first play, The Treasure in Luna Bay, the focus is more on the people of Luna Bay than on the pirates, and only Captain Sabertooth, Wally and Tiny appear. In addition, Tiny is older and a rough-edged Jerk with a Heart of Gold who ends up a Defector from Decadence, as opposed to the later Tiny, who's a Cheerful Child and Token Good Teammate. The second story introduces Longfinger and Wimp, though Longfinger is more of a Faux Affably Evil Smug Snake than the genuinely Affably Evil Reasonable Authority Figure he would eventually become, and his fatherly relationship with Tiny is nowhere to be seen.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Captain Sabertooth is a ruthless, greedy Bad Boss who thinks nothing of plundering and burning, or threatening people with murder, but he won't break a promise (though he may use roundabout words so that he technically never made the promise in the first place) or abandon a crewmember in need.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Veronica has a pet shark named Ravenous.
  • Flynning: Frequent, especially for Captain Sabertooth and Longfinger.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Malena Pirate, Wally and Wimp's mother, is dangerous with her frying pan.
  • Ghost Pirate: The ghost of Gory Gabriel appears in two separate stories. On both occations, the ghost is an imposter — the first time it's Tiny masquerading as Gory Gabriel, the second time it's Tiny's father Morgan.
  • Ghost Song: In both his appearances, Gory Gabriel's ghost sings a song of warning to Captain Sabertooth.
  • Hakuna Matata: Several of the songs the pirates sing are about the cheerful and carefree life as a pirate.
  • He-Man Woman Hater: Captain Sabertooth. In other versions of the franchise he doesn't seem to mind women so much (even if he's of the firm conviction that they don't belong onboard a ship), but in the plays he reacts to women with pure disgust. In some plays, especially in the early incarnations, it even slips into a more childish Girls Have Cooties reaction.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Mayor of Luna Bay prefers not to believe the rumors of pirates arriving at Luna Bay, thank you very much. After all, they just voted on whether or not they'd believe that pirates were arriving, and since the majority voted "no," pirates clearly aren't arriving.
  • "I Am" Song: Tiny, Tully and Longfinger each have one, Wally and Wimp share one (which is also a Quarreling Song). Captain Sabertooth gets several; he seems to have at least one new "I Am" Song for every new production.
  • Idiot Ball: Any character might pick it up at any time, usually when it's funnier that way. Wally and Wimp pass the Idiot Ball between themselves so many times during any given story that it's impossible to say which brother, if any of them, has the brain at the moment.
  • "I Want" Song: Veronica gets one with "The Falling Stars," which is partly a wish for romance and partly a wish for change and excitement.
  • The Load: Tully. While pirates like Wally, Wimp and Benjamin aren't very successful, at least they pull their weight and make occasional positive contributions — Tully, by contrast, is completely useless; his main function is to torture the others with his awful cooking, and the very few times he contributes positively to the plot it's purely by accident.
    • He practically becomes a Millstone in the play Gory Gabriel's Treasure, where he gets fired from his job in favor of Happy Jack, sneaks along on the journey anyway to try and wow the pirates with his culinary arts, and ends up starting a fire on the Dark Lady with his cooking experiments.
    • Also noticeable in The Enchanted Island, where Tully is the only one of the pirates not to get mind-controlled by the antagonist, and still fails to do anything remotely useful.
    • Averted, however, in The Secret of the Sea, where his lethal cooking is weaponized, and he even does a good job as an "undercover agent" in Luna Bay.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Red Rudy is a genuinely Nice Guy, but he shares Captain Sabertooth's lust for gold and riches, and sometimes becomes unreasonable and greedy when he smells treasure.
  • Mundane Fantastic: There are certainly fantastic elements in this world, such as ghosts, witches and wizards, magic and wish-granting diamonds, but they often don't get a lot of attention.
  • The Musical: All the stage shows. The music and catchy songs are a huge part of why the franchise made it big in the first place.
  • Musical Chores: The pirates have a work song, called The Work Shanty, about the hard work they do on board. Usually sung by Wally and Wimp — and sometimes subverted because they're not actually working while singing. In the play The Hunt for the Magical Diamond they're actually singing it while on vacation, trying to convince their skeptical mother that life as a pirate isn't a luxury cruise.
  • Pungeon Master: Benjamin, frequently. If he's not making modern-day references or throwing good-natured insults at his fellow pirates, he's making some Incredibly Lame Pun or other. One particularly memorable instance has Captain Sabertooth finding a treasure chest, but opening it he find's it's a decoy — there's a hole in the bottom, and the Captain reaches through it and grabs the hand of the pirate holding the chest. Then this exchange happens:
    Captain Sabertooth (angrily) What sort of treasure is this supposed to be?! A hand?!
    Benjamin: It's a handout, Captain.
  • Quarreling Song: Wally and Wimp's shared "I Am" Song is also this — with one twin hurling out insults when the other tries to sing about himself, with both of them spending the chorus singing about how they're always fighting.
  • "Setting Off" Song: The light, bouncy Are You Ready? is sung by Captain Sabertooth (Longfinger in the most recent production of Gory Gabriel's Treasure) and the crew, and is all about preparing for the next adventure.
  • Silly Song: Wally and Wimp's Duel for the entire franchise. An almost as silly song is the birthday song, which was sung by Veronica in its original performance, but in later years became one of Benjamin's signature songs.
  • Supreme Chef: Aunt Bessie, who runs the inn at Luna Bay, is a renowned cook whose food is described as the best ever — then again, for some of the characters the alternative is Tully's cooking.
  • Terrible Trio: In the very first play, The Treasure of Luna Bay, Captain Sabertooth forms one with Tiny and Wally, being the hands-on boss to the eager-but-bumbling Wally and the clever-but-reluctant Tiny. In later stories, more pirates are introduced, some of whom become major characters, and the trope never applies to the pirates again.
    • Other Terrible Trios make appearances in later productions, such as Happy Jack and his two henchmen, or the Count of Graal's three stooges.
  • Villain Song: By far the most plentiful of the songs. Captain Sabertooth may hold some kind of record for most Villain Songs in a franchise; he's always singing about his thirst for gold, about how he expects obedience from his men, about how dangerous and formidable he is. Other villains who show up in the franchise (usually more vile than Sabertooth and presented as working against him), such as Happy Jack, the Count of Graal, Lord Maga-Kahn or Queen Sikrit, all get their own songs.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Happens to most of the antagonists — most of them, when they're no longer in charge, break down and show themselves as pathetic and cowardly. The exception is Happy Jack, who becomes murderous.
    Captain Sabertooth: No man in his right mind would dare challenge the magnificent Captain Sabertooth!
    Happy Jack: Who said I was in my right mind?!
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The rockin' Never Trust Her, originally sung by Captain Sabertooth but later taken over by Longfinger, as a warning to Wally about Queen Sirikit.
  • Why Did It Have To Be Ghosts?: The one thing Captain Sabertooth is stated to be afraid of is ghosts. Especially if it's the ghost of Gory Gabriel, the previous pirate king.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Rudy and Aunt Bessie in the two original plays. They do.
  • Women Are Wiser: Veronica is altogether more sensible than Tiny is, and Aunt Bessie is likewise notably smarter than Red Rudy.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: Played with and zig-zagged in the Luna Bay plays and Gory Gabriel's Treasure. Twice, the pirates think they have found the real treasure, only for it to turn out to be something else. The first time, the treasure chest is an empty decoy. The second time it turns out that the treasure isn't gold but Aunt Bessie's secret recipes, which is the greatest treasure the people of Luna Bay know. And then, when the pirates have given up and sailed away, it's revealed that there is a hidden gold treasure, namely Gory Gabriel's rusty anchor. Which turned out to be solid gold disguised as rusty iron.


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