Sunday, September 5, 2010

Treasure Island

"Treasure Island" 1975.  John Newcome as Jim Hawkins, Jim Stowell as Long John Silver.

In the fall of 1975, The Children's Theatre Company and School was beginning its second season in its "new home" (the 736 seat auditorium had opened in fall of 1974 as part of the renovation/expansion of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts -- the theatre's previous home -- and the neighboring Minneapolis College of Art and Design).  CTC was also beginning its new adventure as a completely independent entity, having made the decision in the spring to separate from the governing body, the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, feeling it would be impossible to produce work of sufficient quality when met with astonishingly high budget cuts that were being insisted upon at the time.  

The opening production of the season was a true spectacular:  resident playwright Timothy Mason's adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "Treasure Island," directed by John Clark Donahue, with music composed and orchestrated by resident composer Hiram Titus.  Newly-hired that season was Dahl Delu, scenic designer (who, a few years later, would venture off to Los Angeles and earn his fame and fortune as set designer for the television series "Cheers").  Gene Davis Buck provided the costume design and Karlis Ozols the lighting design.  The production was presented in a "split run" -- several weeks in the fall and then also in midwinter of 1976.  While in rehearsal for the play, CTC was also very much involved in the Renaissance Festival (presenting Commedia dell'Arte plays) and also mounting "Mother Goose" for mainstage and regional tour and Chekhov's "The Sea Gull" for teenage and adult audiences.
"Treasure Island" joined the continuing repertoire and was produced once again in the fall of 1979.

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Audio clip: "Sir Patrick Spense," a traditional Scottish sea ballad from the 1700s, followed by deck dancing and transition into apple barrel scene.  A remarkably lush, romantic score, combining live pit musicians with a prerecorded string section.  Winter 1976 production.  Vocal by Tom Dunn.  Voices of John Newcome as Jim Hawkins, Jim Stowell as Long John Silver and George Hermann as Israel Hands.

Lyric adapted by Timothy Mason:
'Mak haste, mak haste, my mirry men all,
Our guid schip sails the morne:'
'O say na sae, my master deir,
For I feir a deadlie storme.

'Late late yestereen I saw the new moone,
Wi the auld moone in hir arme,
And I feir, I feir, my deir master,
That we will cum to harme.'

O lang, lang may their ladies sit,
Wi their fans into their hand,
Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spens
Cum sailing to the land.

Haf owre, haf owre to Aberdour,
It's fiftie fadom deip,
And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spens,
Wi the Scots lords at his feit.

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