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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Pirates to strike gold in play

Cast+members+William+Bull+and+drama+instructor+Michael+Mayes+rehearse+a+sword+fight+for+the+NW+play+Treasure+Island%2C+which+runs+Oct.+12-16.+Performances+start+at+7%3A30+p.m.+with+a+2+p.m.+show+on+Oct.+16.%0A%0APhotos+by+Peter+Matthews%2FThe+Collegian
Cast members William Bull and drama instructor Michael Mayes rehearse a sword fight for the NW play Treasure Island, which runs Oct. 12-16. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. show on Oct. 16. Photos by Peter Matthews/The Collegian
Cast members William Bull and drama instructor Michael Mayes rehearse a sword fight for the NW play Treasure Island, which runs Oct. 12-16. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. show on Oct. 16. Photos by Peter Matthews/The Collegian
Cast members William Bull and drama instructor Michael Mayes rehearse a sword fight for the NW play Treasure Island, which runs Oct. 12-16. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. show on Oct. 16.
Photos by Peter Matthews/The Collegian

By Jamil Oakford/ editor-in-chief

Swashbuckling adventure will make port at Theatre Northwest starting Oct. 12.

In what drama associate professor Josh Blann calls the biggest production NW Campus has put on in a while, students are preparing Treasure Island.

“The original version of this story was made for boys and featured mostly men,” Blann said. “It was misleading in a way because it made it seem like there were no women around on the seas.”

In an updated version first performed at the National Theatre in England, Jim Hawkins is a young girl who longs for adventure and finds it with a company of pirates. This reimagined Treasure Island features plenty of female roles for pirates and sailors.

With Blann at the helm, NW student Katie de Groh is playing the lead character Jim.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” she said. “It’s my first time, and I just hope I can portray Jim well.”

While this is her first experience with theater, she said she’s enjoying the training she’s getting.

“Doing all the fight scenes have been such a fun experience,” de Groh said.

While the cast is made up of NW drama students, Blann has also hired professional actors for a few roles, and there’s some faculty and staff pitching in as well. For cast member Angela Walker, this is part of the excitement for preparing this play.

“Having professional actors here to help has been great,” she said. “They have so much more experience than me, and it’s been interesting seeing how they warm up and get into character.”

But the consensus has been that the accents have been the most challenging part of preparing Treasure Island.

“There’s mostly British accents in this and, unlike traditional British accents with a soft ‘r,’ pirates tend to emphasize with a hard ‘r,’” castmate Spencer Fontenot said. “And then we have a Cockney accent as well, so it’s been hard keeping them apart.”

Cast member Katie de Groh rehearses a narration while hanging off of a ladder in Treasure Island.
Cast member Katie de Groh rehearses a narration while hanging off of a ladder in Treasure Island.

For de Groh, sustaining the accent has been particularly difficult.

But one of the major highlights for Fontenot and fellow actor Llydia Thompson, who plays Jackie Sparrow, has been the songs and costumes.

Cast members hope the audience will be able to sing along to at least one of the songs, “Drunken Sailor,” that closes out the show.

“‘Drunken Sailor’ is my favorite out of all the songs we’re doing,” Thompson said.

Overall, the cast hopes the show’s message will reach audience members.

“I hope people walk out with a sense of adventure,” de Groh said. “I hope they leave knowing what a shanty is as well.”

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