Theatre : Pirates capture the Playhouse
Come to Vineyard Playhouse to see wildly fierce pirates, lost shipwrecked survivors and playful natives all rallying, plotting and scheming on one very small island. The Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School presents "Pirate Island," a play by Martin Follose, opening tonight at the Vineyard Playhouse and running through Saturday, May 10.
The opening music sets the tone. The stage, transformed into a tropical isle, is lush with dangling palm fronds, an aqua marine blue sea and sky and a long dock stretching to a distant horizon.
We first meet the likeable shipwrecked survivors as they come ashore, one carrying a 35 mm camera, another with a stethoscope around her shoulders and a third with her grandmother's precious magic-laden antique trunk.
Photos by Ralph Stewart
They band together to take stock of where they are, to organize, to make a discovery plan of the island and elect a leader. Their choice is Barbara, played with confidence by Teo Azzollini. They ponder what to do next.
Ry Brodsky and Wolfie McCormick-Goodhart, playing island natives, enter. They are the classic clowns of the play, with painted faces and costumes of grass skirts and headdresses. The two actors clearly enjoy their parts, and bring life and energy to them. The background music enhances their performance as they romp about the beach with lively animated gestures.
Enter pirates in all their swashbuckling, skullduggery glory. Alayna Hutchinson - in a sweeping velvet coat, complete with sword, pistol, and an eye patch - is impressive as Captain Peach.
Like all good dramas this one includes plots and sub-plots. Things mysteriously disappear. There is a treasure hunt, but no treasure.
There are threats and warnings of, "Make them walk the plank," only to be have the crew shout, "We have no plank!"
Everything seems to revolve around the antique trunk one survivor salvaged from the ship. She claims it is filled with magic. All the elements of a pirate tale are represented. The play was influenced by the popular film "Pirates of the Caribbean" as well as by the television show "Lost."
The play's director, Heather A. R. Capece, was masterful in getting the actors to express the enthusiasm and action of the romp. The play has a genuinely fast-paced rhythm with great musical accompaniment.
This is a play to see for the fun of it and because the entire cast and crew do a great job making it come together.
"Pirate Island" at the Vineyard Playhouse, opens Thursday, May 8, at 4:30 pm; Friday, May 9 at 6 pm, and Saturday, May 10, at 2 and 6 pm. Tickets for a family of four $25; adults $10; students $5. For more information, call 508-693-9900.
Helene Barr is a freelance writer who lives in Vineyard Haven.