Area youth preparing for 'Treasure Island' performance
REED CITY — Swashbuckling and adventure on the high seas will take over Reed City during the first weekend in August, as a dozen youth perform the classic tale of "Treasure Island."
In conjunction with the Crossroads Theatre Guild, the play will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 2, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the performing arts center, located on the corner of Upton Avenue and Park Street. Tickets are $10.
"Everybody loves pirates," said director Timothy Locker with a laugh. "I got the students together and figured out what show would be best utilized based on the number of participants we had."
The teens range from 13 to 17 years old and all but one is from Reed City. Anna Hamner, who plays the lead role of Jim Hawkins, resides in Cadillac. This is her first performance and her first time with the group.
"I've always helped out with plays, but never been in one before," Hamner said. "I tried out just for fun."
Being a part of the youth theater not only gives the participants something to do during the summer months, but also keeps them active, provides a creative outlet and allows them to meet new people outside of the classrooms and hallways. It also gives theater lovers the chance to be involved in the community in a positive way, said the group members.
To prepare for "Treasure Island," the youth have been rehearsing at least three times a week since June. They said they are enjoying the action and relatable characters the performance allows.
"There are a few doubled-up parts, so we get to play multiple characters," said A.J. Schewan. "Some of the characters change over the course of the play, so they expand as a person and you get to see that. The story becomes pretty interesting because of it."
The set is almost versatile enough to be a character of its own, as boards, blocks and panels of wood come together to create an adjustable set that is able to flawlessly transition from scene to scene to create a different atmosphere. Locker designs everything so the pieces work together, are easy to assemble and easy to recycle for future productions.
"All the materials in this show will be used in the next show," he said. "I read the play and see what's needed, then keep to very standard, basic measurements and set configurations. By doing it this way, we conserve money, time and materials."
Although the stage is cluttered with set pieces needing to be assembled, the first couple of front rows are covered in sawdust and the actors still need a better grasp of some of their lines and cues, Locker said he isn't worried one bit.
"We're actually in really good shape with everything," he added. "We will be rehearsing every day until opening night. I like to bring them to their peak on opening night."
As things progress and the show takes shape, Locker notices the teens becoming more comfortable and confident on stage and an increasing acting ability. He hopes to encourage the skill further and create the next generation of community theater members.
"My goal is to get as many young people enthusiastic about theater as possible," he said. "There are a couple in this group I look to to carry on the theater in years to come, because I and the other members of the theater guild won't be around forever."