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POWDER MONKEY LOG: Our Sail to Treasure

IMG_0028Argh! Welcome aboard our TREASURE ISLAND Journey. But beware- this isn’t your normal pirate show. You know, the show with clumsy pirates that almost fall overboard. Come to think of it, excited Squire does that, hmm. Or, that pirate who hangs around the inn telling stories that send chills up your spine! Oh, but Billy Bones does that!

Well, you get the idea: it’s not a cheesy pirate show! There is that crazy marooned Ben Gunn who craves toasted cheese, though. Shiver me timbers! Cheese and all, TREASURE ISLAND makes a very unique pirate story because of the dynamic pirates that aren’t in your normal tales. They have strong, differing opinions and boy, do they speak their minds about them! Because of their personalities, they each play a big part into the unexpected turns in our story.

Take Morgan and Emyln Jenkins, for an example. Have you ever had that person who inspects every single thing you do, making you want to explode? Morgan does just that when Emyln Jenkins inspects his dirty pirate hygiene! Or perhaps you are like Squire Trelawney who likes to add some excitement to things while you work (even if they aren’t exactly safe), but then the responsible person comes in, takes your fun, and gives a stern “get back to work!” Deep down, you know he is right…and that irritates you even more!

As the QCT crew discovered more about TREASURE ISLAND, you could have easily translated it to a LOT of work! How can you possibly make pirate fights safe while still keeping the fast action and excitement? How can you bring sea to stage? It has taken a lot of dedication and work, but it is not a bad thing! Pirates sing a shanty while they work and dance a jig for some fun. QCT has been doing something similar!

The first few weeks in rehearsals, we discovered our characters by playing some games. These games helped us ask ourselves different questions based on our role. I play Hunter, a servant of Squire’s from Bristol. Some of the questions I asked myself were, “What problems do I face?”, “how do I solve them?” and “what would living on a ship feel like?” This helped us know how our character would react in any part of the script.

After we “got to know” our characters, we started blocking! The blocking stage is my favorite stage, because I see it as a key that unlocks the unknown white pages in our scripts to life. Before you know it, the white pages are filled with scribbled notes and a colorful rainbow of highlights! At first, our “set” was more like an office, with bright mats and chairs placed around to mark decks, doors, and apple barrels! We got to know the set even before it was made this way!

Once we got the show blocked, we started fight chorography, which has been a lot of fun! Have you ever wondered how shows make such realistic, fast fights safe? There are a lot of things to think about while you “fight”: keep loose, make it clean..make close contact with the weapon for control, position yourself for balance. The key to energy and making it look like we are mad, hurt, or fast is to put it in our acting and not in our fighting. In many ways, fight chorography is just like dancing with a pirate spin. We practice our drills and fights at home and we warm up before we start practice.

The final pieces of our show are coming together right before our eyes. It is exciting to see how it comes together! We have come a long way from pirate jigs to battles, but we still have a ways to sail until opening night. No matter what waves come our way, you will hear a happy “argh!” from us!

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