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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

‘Treasure Island’ embarks on maiden voyage

Carley Nail

ULM’s School of Visual and Performing Arts began its first performance of the year with the loud bang of a cannon. A story of swindling swashbucklers and pirates, “Treasure Island” invites the audience to sail with the crew of the Hispaniola. 

“Treasure Island” is an adaptation of the classic adventure novel written by Robert Louis Stevenson. The story follows Jim Hawkins as he faces obstacles on his voyage to Treasure Island. 

In the novel, Hawkins is a sheltered young boy craving adventure. However, the visionaries at ULM decided to do things a little bit differently. In VAPA’s adaptation, Hawkins is a girl and played by senior psychology major Delaney Morgan.

Hawkins just wants to be able to live comfortably with her grandma, so she joins a pirate crew in search of fame and plundered booty. But life on a pirate ship is not what she imagined. 

Moments like these remind you that Hawkins is still a child. With a simple change in Morgan’s tone and facial expressions, she transforms into a cunning sailor who occasionally lets her impulsive thoughts consume her.

“Jim is fun because she’s young and adventurous and really goes through a range of emotions and events, which is exciting to play out,” Morgan said.

Along the way, Hawkins meets a colorful cast of characters. One of which is Long John Silver, played by Wyatt Sage, a one-legged cook who ends up leading a pirate mutiny.

Sage is an amazing performer. His stage presence is overpowering, and his booming voice controls the audience when it shatters the tense silence. Every show needs a dark and evil villain, and Wyatt Sage plays that role perfectly.

“I wanted to be Long John Silver before auditions happened,” Sage said. “Every show needs a good villain, and based off the reactions I’ve gotten in previous villain roles I’ve played, Bob Ewell in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and Stanley Kowalski in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, I think I’m pretty good at it.”

Even though the main performers commanded the stage, the secondary characters also captivated the audience’s attention. Ethan Lancaster’s performance as a sailor obsessed with cheese and Landon Morris’s stoic Captain Smollett were some of the highlights. 

The play’s director Mark Clark got the idea to produce “Treasure Island” while visiting the University of Surrey in England, where he was invited to watch Bryony Lavery’s brand-new adaptation of the play.

“The characters were all fresh and interesting and funny and bizarre. I thought we could do it well. It was written only a couple of years ago for the National Theatre in London, but I think it is better with younger actors,” Clark said.

The costume selection was also well done. The frilly sleeves, feathered hats and long coats made it feel like we were stepping back in time.

“I think that everyone looked really cool in their costumes, especially Long John Silver. The embroidery on his coat was so cool,” sophomore biology major Chloe Eagan said. “It really tied the whole ‘pirates taking over the ship’ scene together.” 

Even though the British accents were horrendous, the cast of “Treasure Island” put on a phenomenal show that deserves every ounce of praise it receives. 

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