Treasure Island radio play brought to stage

Set a course of the riches and booty of the sea and stage, mateys.

Pocket Theatre is presenting Treasure Island: A Radio Play, performed in front of a live audience

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"Come join our live audience while we act out this ripping good yarn," said co-director Peter Maides who coordinated the cast and crew alongside Allison Haley.

"It's a script that Orson Welles adapted for the radio for his Mercury Theatre group that he had back in the '30s," said Maides.

"It's a public domain script, and we adapted his adaptation to give it more local content. We've done a few radio plays live on stage before, and we're carrying on that tradition because they are quite fun."

The cast and crew are calling this unique style of presentation Pocket Theatre of the Air, and not just to be quaint. Yes, this will be a play for a live audience enjoying the actors and technicians present the script, but the finished product will be actually broadcast later on CFUR 88.7 FM (the UNBC campus station).

The actors will have scripts in their hands, reading the lines, but it nonetheless takes a rehearsal process to prepare the cast for the pacing of the dialogue and the allowances for special audio effects.

"Everybody loves the foley table," said Maides. The foley table is the work bench used by the sound effects specialists for almost every radio play. The tabletop is stocked with all the hammers and whistles and shakers and other inventive items that make the theatrical noises needed to plump up the story.

"Our foley table will feature the sound effects by Katherine Benny," said Maides. "She brings her knowledge of percussion from the symphony (she is a member of the PGSO's percussion section), and her passion for radio which I guess she gets from her dad." (She is the daughter of local morning show host Mike Benny, so radio has been a lifelong household condition.)

The show will be performed twice next week, as a practice and fundraiser to advance the cast and crew on to the Central Interior Zone Drama Festival coming up May 9-12 at the Kersley Community Hall.

The cast is led by Niall Caffrey in his debut with Pocket Theatre playing the role of young Jim Hawkins.

The role of adult Jim Hawkins is played by his father, local stage and screen veteran Frank Caffrey who also doubles as the voice of Cap'n Flint, the parrot.

As is so frequently the case with radio play casts, many of the actors have multiple roles. In this performance, Andrea Mallett plays both the scurvy knave Black Dog and the virtuous Captain Smollet; Devon Flynn takes on the pivotal role of Long John Silver as well as Dr. Livesay; Sandra Clermont is both Blind Pew and Ben Gunn; Al Wiensczyk portrays Squire Trelawney and Billy Bones; Lynne Brown plays a mother, some pirates, and an announcer.

The Prince George shows will be held Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in room 1-306 at the College of New Caledonia.

All are welcome. Admission is by donation.

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