CUMMING, Ga. — Pirates from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 novel “Treasure Island” are commandeering the Cumming Playhouse stage.
Presented by Gypsy Theatre Company’s artistic director Mercury, this swashbuckling tale of a young boy, Jim Hawkins, who finds a map to Treasure Island and comes face-to-face with the one of the most infamous pirates of all time—Long John Silver.
“The text of the play is very true to the book, so anyone who loved the book as a child will find great joy and familiarity in the wordage,” Mercury said. “There are many idioms that are said that are not modern language, but the actors will portray it in such a fashion that the audience will understand.”
The show opens at 8 p.m. July 18 and runs through August 11.
After casting all of the characters, Mercury wrote the stage adaptation of the show himself.
Because he casted before, Mercury said he was able to write the characters specifically for each actor.
“The physicality of each actor came into play,” Mercury said. “It was very fun and reminiscent of Shakespeare-times when he had actors that were in the core company.”
Mercury also wrote two real female pirates—Anne Bonny played by Danielle Gustaveson and Mary Read played by Karen Walsh— into the play so that young girls could have characters to connect with.
For 20 years, Mercury was an actor in New York City, so he said he directs his shows from an actor’s standpoint.
“I understand the process they are going through, so I feel that I can communicate very well to the actors what is needed,” Mercury said. “The way that I block it is very organic and naturalistic. We combine that with what the actors bring to the story themselves with the skills and strengths they have.”
Marty Baker, who plays Squire Trelawney in “Treasure Island,” said working with Mercury on the show has been a great experience.
“When you get this group of people it is like a club, and you work together then at the end you go your separate ways,” Baker said. “You’ve got sword fights, you’ve got pirates and it is just fantasy fun. It’s a good cast.”
Mercury also served as the set, sound and light designer for “Treasure Island.”
“Even though there are some very specific drops, all of the set pieces are these cubes that we arrange in different areas and ways to represent furniture or the forest,” Mercury said. “The play is what creates the reality around them.”
With a cast of 20, Mercury said one of the biggest challenges was trying to coordinate all of the actors to be at the right place at the right time, and getting the desired emotional output from each of the characters.
“It’s a joy, because everyone has their own individuality they bring, not only to their own character and role, but also to the cast,” Mercury said. “Working all of that together is like bringing together a giant family.”
Mercury said the show is one that pirates from age 8 to 108 will enjoy.
“It will be a whole new experience of seeing live sword fights, cannons firing into the audience and all of the excitement and drama that happens on Jim Hawkins’ journey,” Mercury said. “When you are a pirate everything is just fun. You are either drinking your grog or stabbing someone in the back.”
For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit http://tinyurl.com/nb6lhhh.
This article appeared in the July 17 edition of the Forsyth Herald.