Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Adapted by Byrony Lavery
Directed by Polly Findlay
Scenery and Costumes by Lizzie Clachan
Clicking on the link will take you to her website.
MCC also produced this play (different adaptation) back in 2007. It's a challenging show for the scenic designer what with having to build a ship onstage. We did it outside at the Bosque River Stage, which gave it the benefit of having water in the background. As our Waco springs usually bring a lot of rain and sometimes flooding, this year the Bosque had flooded a lot so that the first six rows of seats were underwater and had washed away the beginnings of the set we had previously been working so hard to build. After a delay of a couple of weeks for the water to recede, we were able to rebuild the set fortunately. Unfortunately, the receding waters left behind an amazing amount of dead fish. So, the stage absorbed the stench of an 18th C pier. We told ourselves it added to the verisimilitude.
Robert Louis Stevenson famously said Treasure Island was a book for boys. In this female led production, (both the adapter and the director are female) the creatives were aware that there were in actuality many female pirates and that they were infamous for being more sadistic than the men. Their research led them to re-imagine the roles of Jim Hawkins, Dr. Livesay, and several of the sailors/pirates, as female. We find out Jim's given name is Jemima early on. In fact, Jim's gender is remarked upon often by everyone she meets, but it makes little difference to the plot. Patsy Ferran, a Spanish actress raised in England, plays Jim. She is an amazing talent. She had just graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art when she was cast.
Another unusual casting choice is Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who) as Long John Silver. Not that he didn't do an excellent job as LJS, but "Rory" is seemingly too young and pretty to be a scary pirate. Indeed, even with the missing leg, grimy clothes, and dirty, bearded face, he still manages to be a sexy bad boy. Clearly this is what the director was going for, it's just LJS is normally a big bear of a man and not a Johnny Depp-esque Captain Jack Sparrow.
The acting (and singing) is excellent. It's a stunningly good ensemble show, but the real star of the production is design/tech of the ship, The Hispaniola, the storm it sails through, and the stars that guide it. I have included several videos where you can see the raising of the ship out of the stage floor, the lighting and sound effects of the storm, and the lighting for the astronomy lesson.
The costumes are wonderful as well. As with any ensemble show, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. All the pirates and sailors are costumed in motley of colorful, tattered garments that combine like pieces in a patchwork quilt to create a most interesting and unusual design.
All photos credit: National Theatre and Marc Brenner.
Here's a video of the stage transforming into the Hispaniola: all three stories of it.
Here's a clip of the awesome storm sound and lighting effects.
Here's a clip of the awesome lighting effects in the astronomy lesson.