The Scourge of The Gulph


5 pages

The Scourge of The Gulph

Or Fierce Revenge

| 1903 | Strete, Ireland
Genre (as defined by the author)
Miniature Theatre
Captain Carricknagat, James Broad / Bosun, Joe Miles / The Scourge of the Gulph, La Lolita, Crew
Number of acts

Jack B. Yeats wrote a series of toy theatre (also called paper theatre) plays. In "My Miniature Theater" (The Collected Plays of Jack B. Yeats), he explains performing his plays each year during Christmastime to entertain the children of the valley where he lived.

His plays were birthed from the influence of Robert Louis Stevenson and from a nostalgia for a time when successful plays for actors were then adapted to toy theater. The sets, the characters, and an adaptation of the script were sold for one penny (in black and white) or two pence (in colour) so that children could recreate the play at home. Nevertheless, certain scenes from traditional theatre were difficult to adapt to toy theatre. Therefore, Yeats, who created his own stories, chose to limit characters that did ‘almost nothing besides talking and walking majestically.’ He highlighted the importance of voice since each character had to be distinguishable by their tone and way of speaking. Regarding the creation of the set and the characters, Yeats glued his scenery to cardboard, using watercolors and Christmas garland as well as candles to provide lighting.

Plot summary

A pirate loses everything, another seeks vengeance but wins nothing

Captain Caricknagat, heading a ship of pirates, beats and expels Joe Miles since he made a move on his wife. Miles promises vengeance.

The Captain and his team disembark on the shore of an island to find fresh water. They are attacked by its inhabitants. Captain asks a part of his troupes to bring his wife, 'The Lolita,' to his ship while he fights with the natives. Upon return to the ship, however, she is nowhere to be found, and the majority of his men have perished in the battle. Two days later, James Broad, the boatswain, returns. He has escaped and carries a message that The Lolita etched into a piece of tree bark. She writes that her body will be burnt and her head hung at the entrance of a cave. She asks her husband to recover her head, to put it in a box, and to bury it once back on their island (The Isle of Plumes). The Captain sends the last of his men to retrieve the remains of his wife, but it's a fluke, and only the Captain and James survive. The two pirates wait for nightfall to finally steal back the skull and the vessel before returning home. James dies of thirst as Captain nears the shore.

Joe Miles, who is waiting for Captain on the island since being expelled from the ship, kills him for vengeance and steals his treasure. When he opens the chest, however, he finds only a severed head.

Composition date

Publications and translations


Jack B. Yeats, The Scourge of the Gulph. London: Mathews, 1903.

Modern edition

Jack B. Yeats, The Collected Plays of Jack B. Yeats, Robin Skelton (ed.). London, Secker and Warburg, 1971.

Literary tones
Black comedy, Humorous, Dramatic
Animations techniques
Toy theatre
Young audiences


Theatrical techniques


Written by

Cécile Decaix