Grayson College Theatre for Young Audiences presents “Pirates! Theodore Thud and the Quest for Weird Beard” Feb. 17-20 at the Cruce Stark Auditorium, located in the Arts & Communication Building on GC’s Main Campus in Denison. The 40-minute play features morning performances Feb. 17-19 at 10 a.m. and one evening performance on Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
Written by award-winning playwright Joshua Mikel, the play features a cast of crazy characters on an adventure of fun and fantasy. A childlike game of make-believe pirates becomes all too real when Theodore Thud, played by Wolfe City freshman Luke Brown, falls into a giant sinkhole and awakes to find himself mistaken for a notorious swashbuckler in a world of pirates, ghosts, mermaids and other creatures. Theodore undertakes an epic journey with Harriet the Ghost, played by Sadler freshman Jordan Curry, to find the real Weird Beard, played by Olney freshman Jesse Alsup, and thwart the mutinous Mr. Clunky Bones, played by Denison sophomore Holden Webster.
“A bit timid as the youngest of his friends at the play’s beginning, Theodore rises above his own insecurities and grows up during the quest,” said Robin Robinson, GC theatre director. “He learns to be brave, to reach out beyond himself, to think of others and to help them.”
“Pirates!” is a fast-moving, imaginative production that features eight different settings. Student designers created whimsical scenery, colorful costumes, and innovative lighting and special effects that are instrumental in moving characters from scene to scene. The characters are exaggerated versions of what one typically thinks, and they all have problems to overcome, which is presented in a fun and humorous way.
“It’s theatre so it’s all imagination, but if we believe, the audience believes it too,” Robinson said. “Children’s shows are challenging for actors to maintain high energy and performance, but they’re also an elevated form of play. We get to be kids at heart on stage while we engage the audience during the show.”
“‘Pirates!’ is a perfect fit for kids of all ages, including adults,” Robinson said. “It’s a great way to expose kids to live theatre, and it’s cheaper than a movie.”
Bells sophomore Hunter Malone joins Webster as the only other sophomore cast member. She plays two roles: Becky and Penelope.
Alsup also plays two characters, adding Merle along with Weird Beard. Other freshman cast members performing dual roles include: Tyler Burns of Bells as Jay and Marco; Jordan Harger of Bonham as Penny and Linz the Mermaid; James Berggren of Denison as Thad and Pierre; Connor Copeland of Howe as Deet and Rain; Katelin Britton of Tom Bean as Juice and DeeDee the Mermaid; and Colton Wall of Whitewright as Doodle and Leaf. Other freshman cast members are: Darrion Dockins of Clarksville as Vinnie Vulture; Anatole Santalyole and Colt Schell, both of Denison, as Captain Cramp Hand and Doot, respectively; Madison Styles of Durant as Polly Parrot; and Jordan Curry of Sadler as Harriet.
Four sophomores serve as designers for the production. Webster is scene designer in addition to his acting role. Other designers are: Jorge Amador of Princeton, sound; Bryce Dansby of Denison, lighting; and Lydia Foster of Pottsboro, costumes. Corsicana freshman Caitlin Pohland is makeup/hair designer and assists Foster with costumes.
GC theatre professor Tenna Matthews is technical director and production manager. Savoy sophomore Katie Gaskill is stage manager. In addition to their acting roles, Berggren and Curry also serve as electrician and scenic painter, respectively.
Freshmen crew members include: Tyler Burns of Bells, props; Trent Rohlet of Bonham, fly rail; Morgan Thomas of Denison and Christian Love of Princeton, wardrobe and costumes; Devin Anding of Jewett, assistant lighting director and mics; Phillip Allen of Mesquite, master electrician and light board operator; Dylan Wells of Pottsboro, sound board operator; Ashley Coffman of Sugar Land, assistant scene designer and fly rail; and Dwayne Bruce of Tom Bean, assistant stage manager.
Tickets for “Pirates! Theodore Thud and the Quest for Weird Beard” are $1 per person, or free with college ID. Parents are welcome to bring cameras and take pictures of their children with the actors after the Saturday evening performance. Reservations are not necessary. For more information about the play, contact the GC Theatre Department at 903-463-8609 or firstname.lastname@example.org.