Girls play, too, in Treasure Island

Brynne Mayne, playing Lady Trelawney, and Kelsie Van Horn, playing Miss Livesey, do their fair share of adventuring in London High School’s production of “Treasure Island.”
Sam Spahn, playing Jim Hawkins, listens as Wes Siders, playing Billy Bones, speaks of finding treasure. The two thespians were rehearsing for London High School’s Nov. 6-8 production of the play, “Treasure Island.”
The cast of "Treasure Island"

Swords, pirates, and buried treasure—sometimes guys have all the fun.

But sometimes, girls can, too, and London High School’s production of “Treasure Island” appears to be one of those times.

Whereas the original story, written by Robert Louis Stevenson, is like a boys-only club for 9-year-olds, the version being performed in London opens the doors to let girls play, too.

Director Scott Blanton, who teaches English at the high school, chose the play because he liked “Treasure Island” as a child and because he needed a show with lots of characters to accommodate stu-dents’ increased interest in performing.

Blanton chose an adaptation of the play by Phil Willmott that not only has plenty of characters (16, to be exact), but also was written to include female characters.

Where the original “Treasure Island” had only one female character, London’s version has eight, including Lady Trelawney (played by Brynne Mayne), who replaces John Trelawney from the original book, and Miss Livesey (Kelsie VanHorn), who replaces Dr. Livesey.

Additionally, Willmott’s version takes a more minimal approach than others. This was good for Blanton, who is operating on a small budget of around $1,000.

Willmott’s version calls for two different settings: a tavern called “The Shipwrights Arms” and “The Good Ship Hispanola,” on which the adventurers set sail in search of treasure. Despite these modifications from Stevenson’s original story, Blanton says the play is “faithful to the spirit of the book.”

Jim Hawkins (played by Sam Spahn), Trelawney and Livesey set out on a hunt for treasure, enlisting the help of Captain Smollet (Dhwip Mistry) and the treacherous pirate Long John Silver (Jacob Estep). Along the way, they meet the stranded sailor Ben Gunn (Page Harrell).

More importantly, the play is a good time.

“[The actors] are really enjoying themselves,” Blanton said. “They’re enjoying the British accent and the pirate songs… This has been a fun play.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6-8 at London High School. The cost is $5 for a single ticket, and families can get in for $20. The play is suitable for all ages and, of course, both genders.

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