INA, Ill. (Oct. 7, 2013) – With one month to go until show time, the cast and crew of Rend Lake College’s fall play “Treasure Island” work nightly on perfecting their roles, learning dance steps, building sets and nailing down a British dialect or two in preparation for a Nov. 7 opening night.
The cast was selected in September, said Theater Professor and play director Tracey Webb, who will make “Treasure Island” her 40th show. She added that the roles of the characters, while being pirates, are extremely comical.
“When we had our first read through of the entire play, the cast and crew were struggling to get through some of the scenes because they were laughing so hard,” said Webb. “Comedy on stage is a beautiful thing. It takes us out of our hectic lives for a while and helps us feel lighthearted and childlike again, and that is why I chose this script.”
The script used during the play is freely adapted for both male and female pirates, written by Phil Willmott, and based on the original novel by Scottish Author Robert Louis Stevenson. Willmott’s version was first performed in England in 2006, though the original novel dates back to 1883.
“It’s a ridiculously funny version of the classic adventure tale,” said Webb. “Yes, the pirates are bloodthirsty and dangerous, but they are also hilarious, and you end up liking them in spite of yourself.”
“Treasure Island” will feature several returning actors to the RLC theater stage, including a duo who have performed together five times.
Aaron Dawson, a 15-year-old from Benton, will be playing the role of Captain Flint, a parrot puppet. “Treasure Island” will be Dawson’s ninth show with Webb and 11th show of his acting career, making him one of the more experienced of the actors and also the youngest.
“I have a lot of fun at the theater and I get to meet all sorts of new people,” said Dawson. “When I was younger, my parents asked me if I was interested in acting, so I tried it and I really liked it. Tracey invited me to do a show at Rend Lake after seeing me with Pyramid Players [a theater company out of Benton], and it went very well.”
Dawson said he plans to attend Rend Lake College in a few years as a general studies and theater major before graduating and attending ministerial school.
Another actor from Benton, John Nalley, will be joining Dawson on stage for his fifth show as the notorious Long John Silver. Nalley has had several starring roles on the RLC theater stage, including the father in Father of the Bride, Mr. Banks.
“My friend and I auditioned on a whim back in 2009, and we ended up playing the villain and villainess in the show,” said Nalley. “I began to think of the theater as my home away from home. I’ll take any role, big or small, as long as I get to perform.”
In addition to Dawson and Nalley, there are 33 actors, all of which are expected to help build the set in addition to learning lines and dances:
- Tara Bell Janowick (Johnston City) as Meg Trueblood
- Phillip Borcherding (Mt. Vernon) as Banjo Brody (banjo)
- Bethaney Brown (Mt. Vernon) as Nightingale Nell
- Shawna Cardwell (Benton) as Whipstitch Winnie
- Phillip Catt (Tamaroa) as Newport Ned
- Nick Conner (Sesser) as Nathaniel Crisp
- Elecia Crider (Woodlawn) as Shoreditch Sal
- Cortne Fletcher (Benton) as Canterbury Kate
- Curtis Galloway (Benton) as Israel Hands
- Donald T. Graham-Barnett (Du Quoin) as Peatbog Pat
- Sierra Harrell (Mt. Vernon) as Miss Lucinda Livesey
- John Hunsell (Mt. Vernon) as Old Joe
- Brandon Isom (Christopher) as Gentleman Jack
- Robin Johnson (Benton) as Greystoke Gertie
- Clay Lewis (Mt. Vernon) as Hardy
- Chris Milburn (Mt. Vernon) as Captain Obadiah Smollett
- Thomas Miller (Pinckneyville) as Tenderloin Ted (guitar)
- George Motsinger (Christopher) as Barnacle Billy
- Cheyenne Needham (Benton) as Cornwall Kelly
- Josh Nelson (Mt. Vernon) as Ben Gunn
- Quentin Overturf (McLeansboro) as Blind Pugh
- Vonnie Palmer (Johnston City) as Mad Mary Maguire
- Shelby Patterson (Waltonville) as Piccadilly Poll
- Eric Price (Benton) as Jim Hawkins
- Danielle Roberts (Mt. Vernon) as Dizzy Delores (recorder)
- Devin Riley (Dix) as Harry Flash
- Trevor Skidmore (Mt. Vernon) as Lionheart Lenny
- Christine South (Enfield) as Lady Jacqueline Trelawney
- Caleb Staples (Mt. Vernon) as Black Dog
- Troy Stickel (Benton) as George Merry and Billy Bones
- Lauryn Strom (Sesser) as Liverpool Lee (percussion)
- Shannon Twitty (Bluford) as Sherwood Sheila (tambourine)
- Yuting Zhang (Dahlgren) as Cheng I Sao
There are also several crew members and volunteers helping with the play, including Skyler Alldredge (Benton), Josh Dawson (Benton), Nicole Foskey (Johnston City), Timothy Learned (Mulkeytown), Anthony Mitchell (Benton), Josh Moyer (Mt. Vernon), Shelby Patterson (Waltonville), Jessa Poninski (Mt. Vernon), Aaron Ramsey (Mt. Vernon), Matthew Rush (Benton), Krystal Schuh (Newton) and Shannon Webb (Ewing).
Tickets for the play will go on sale today for $12 a ticket. Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 through Saturday, Nov. 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10. To purchase tickets, contact Cathy Cross at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1263. Tickets will be available at the Theatre on show night if they are not sold out.