Bloody Bess, Part I

This tape features footage from a 1974 performance of "Bloody Bess," produced by the Organic Theater Company in Chicago and performed at the Uptown Center Hull House Theater. The play was conceived by Stuart Gordon and written by William J. Norris and John Ostrander. It tells the story of Elizabeth Presberty, daughter of the Governor of the island of Tobago. After being taken prisoner by a group of pirates, she returns home to face betrayal and the murder of her family members. She eventually transforms herself into Bloody Bess, a rugged pirate captain out to bring those who have done her wrong to justice.

00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a black screen.

00:24Copy video clip URL Footage of the performance space. Audience members sit in their seats before the show. This lasts for a few minutes.

02:09Copy video clip URL The play begins and the actors begin to scream. A group of pirates commandeer a ship and kill its captain. They find a woman, Elizabeth Presberty, hiding in a large case. This lasts for several minutes.

10:15Copy video clip URL One of the pirates interrogates Presberty. This lasts for several minutes.

12:18Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of female pirate Annie Bailey who begins to destroy Elizabeth’s belongings.

13:18Copy video clip URL The lead pirate addresses his men.

14:15Copy video clip URL The pirates find a rival pirate aboard the ship. There is a confrontation that lasts for several minutes.

19:27Copy video clip URL Bailey looks through Presberty’s belongings as she sleeps. Presberty wakes up and she and Bailey begin to argue.

23:12Copy video clip URL Presberty speaks with the lead pirate about her father and his dealings. The pirates debate over whether they are going to kill Presberty. Bailey eventually protects her and battles some of her fellow pirates.

26:54Copy video clip URL Bailey and Presberty presumably escape the ship. Presberty ventures home. Upon her arrival, she speaks with some of her father’s governmental associates. Her father eventually appears as well. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

32:57Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



  1. Stuart Gordon says:

    What a wonderful surprise! I had forgotten that Anda videotaped our production of BLOODY BESS.

    Is it possible to get a copy on DVD? I would be very grateful.

    Best wishes,

    Stuart Gordon

  2. Mr. Gordon, I always loved the Organic Theater Company during your time there! I am a theater director in Baltimore, MD. Would it be possible to license any of the plays you did then, such as Candide, Warp!, Bloody Bess, or Huck Finn. Didn’t you also do Sirens of Titan? – Steven Lampredi

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