Alley actors get to play pirates An Alley performer fulfills every actor’s secret dream Photo: Joel Peter Johnston
Here’s a secret about the world of drama from Alley Theatre artistic director Gregory Boyd: “Part of the reason a lot of [actors] got into the theater, besides the free drinks, was to play pirates.” (Can we get a “yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”?) This is one of the reasons the Alley is staging Treasure Island as its season closer.
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Boyd hired playwright Ken Ludwig to adapt the novel because he wanted his actors to play several parts, including the pirates, seamen and common townspeople that make up Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale about young Jim Hawkins, his treasure map and the misadventures it leads him into.
“Ken originally didn’t want to do Treasure Island because he thought we should find something with female characters in it,” says Boyd. “Then I introduced him to Elizabeth Bunch, who I always had the idea should play Jim Hawkins, and he loved her and he loved the idea.” Ludwig added a female pirate into the cast; she’ll be played by Melissa Pritchett (the buxom blonde from the Alley’s Hitchcock Blonde.
Cast members will play up to four roles each. “Everybody gets a chance to connect with their inner pirate and everybody gets a chance to play something else,” Boyd says.
Treasure Island isn’t the only classic being revived with a modern facelift next week. In our Night & Day® section, you’ll find out about a musical rendition of everyone’s favorite novel about a bitchy mom the Houston Symphony’s plans to party like it’s 1929 and some new takes on the ancient art of the food fight. - Dusti Rhodes