It’s been centuries since pirates sailed these waters, but a group of scallywags arrived in Prince Rupert this past weekend to perform Blackbeard the Pirate, a musical production put on by the travelling Missoula Children’s Theatre.
A cast of approximately 45 Prince Rupert kids and teens took to the stage to embark on a heralding journey they began learning only five days prior to Saturday’s show, and they didn’t disappoint.
Blackbeard (Kaylee Bonneschranz) and her accompanying crew, including the “awww”-inducing Peachfuzz (Carsen Brown) headlined a cast of swashbuckling sea gangsters who, during the musical, learned that the values of treasures you find in a box don’t weigh up to the value of family and friendship.
“They were great,” said Missoula director Osmary Nieves after the first show.
“It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and us giving them the tools that they need.”
Each age category represented a different facet of the production, which included lazy beach bums, sailors, crabs, crocodiles, mermaids and seaweed creatures.
Missoula (the stage company from Montana) had co-director Marta Knodle leading the way, guiding the children through their dance numbers and witty one-liners.
Each group had their own personalites and quirks. The mermaids (Payton Colussi, Ellen Greisiger, Jordan Carter and Iona Riesen) were beautiful but sassy; the sailors could talk a big game, but were easily frightened; the seaweed creatures acted as a portal between Jolly Rodger’s (Knodle) present and past; the beach bums (Grace Stewart, Alanna Hague, Dana Chetwynd, Amber Lindquist and Emily Proskiw) played the lackadaisical, treasure-obsessed sand-dwellers; and the crabs provided the musical with their steadfast guardianship of the treasure chest.
The crocs (Nash de la Nuez and Kyra Palfy) had their own sub-plot of romantic relationship distress, which they resolved at the conclusion of the play.
The show, written by Michael McGill, included a creative and shocking plot-twist that saw the narrator Knodle’s Jolly Rodger turn out to be not quite what she seemed when she regaled the beach bums with her stories of Blackbeard and her crew.
It turns out Rodger had been a part of the hi-jinx all those years ago as a sailor, Lt. Maynard, who snuck a swig of water from a bottle from the “Fountain of Youth” contained within Blackbeard’s treasure chest.
Three hundred years later, Rodgers’ cautionary tale comes to life when the cast all unites before their curtain call.
Larissa Gorak accompanied the show while assistant directors Carter Brown and Jacy North provided lighting and sound effects, including the voice for a talking clam.