Students and instructors from Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) put on three performances of a new version of Gillbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance last week.
Just under 50 students were involved with the production, making up the cast, pit band, technical crew and costume-makers. A number of community members also lent a hand in making the high school musical possible.
Alison O’Toole, the production’s artistic director, and musical director Jeff Saunders began working with students for the production back in October with the countless hours of preparations showing during performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Pirates of Penzance is a music-heavy production, consisting of widely varying vocal ranges and many fast-paced lyrics in many of the songs. Despite the difficulty of the musical, the cast and band performed remarkably.
After 21 years aboard a ship, Frederic (Daelan Calder) is released from his apprenticeship to a band of orphan pirates led by the Pirate King (Ryan Wightman) and his lieutenant Samual (Blake Foxall).
The pirates’ maid of all work Ruth (Hannah Komadina) is the only woman Frederic has ever laid his eyes on, thinking her to be beautiful. However, the pirates know better and encourage Frederic to take Ruth with him to civilization.
But before the pair leave, Frederic informs the pirates that he will be forced to devote his life to their extermination.
Upon arrival, Frederic sees a group of gorgeous young ladies and realizes Ruth has misled him about her appearance, sending her away before approaching the girls.
One of the girls, Mable (Jordan Weir) and Frederic quickly fall for each other, and he warns the girls of the pirates. Before they can flee, the Pirates of Penzance return and attempt to capture the girls.
This is when the girls’ father, a Major-General (Jacob Skerritt), arrives and pretends to be an orphan to obtain the pirates’ sympathy.
After being released, the Sergeant of Police (Michael Krieger) and his corps announce they will arrest the pirates. Frederic is to lead the police, but is encountered by the Pirate King and Ruth who inform him his apprenticeship is to end on his 21st birthday and because he was born on a leap year he is still technically under the bind.
After discovering the Major-General’s lie, the band of pirates return to attack. But the pirates, who are “noblemen who have gone wrong” are overcome with loyalty when the Sergeant demands they yield of Queen Victoria’s name.
Impressed by this, the Major-General is happy to marry his daughters to the pirates.