Dig out your eye-patches and polish up your spyglasses.
Alpena Civic Theatre goers are in for a "whale" of a good time with this week's opening of "Pirates of the Great Lakes," a seafaring farce written by Michigan playwright Tim Kochenderfer.
The year is 1782 and the family business of Johann Andreas, located on the shores of Lake Huron, is in trouble. For some reason, nobody wants to stay at their wasp-infested inn.
News Photo by Diane Speer
Appearing in Alpena Civic Theatre’s latest production are, front row left, Paul Brege, Julie Smith Mandrick, Jeannie Pines and Donna Roussin; middle row, Marie Misel, Dylan Goike, David Browski, Scott Edgar, Dave Melville, Bob Coleman and Pat Mullen; and back row, Tom Carney, Doug Niergarth, Landen Revilla, Rex Reynolds and Zach Clement.
Luckily for Johann, Capt. Short Fuse Composure arrives on the scene, and in his possession is a treasure map. He promises Johann a share of the treasure which would provide a way to salvage the family business if Johann can assemble a crew and reach the treasure in advance of his arch rival, the dreaded Burgandy Beard.
Between dealing with Capt. Composure's fear of North Atlanta sea tigers and an idiotic crew that has a complete lack of knowledge about the sea, the question becomes whether it will be possible for Johann to find the treasure, get the girl, charm her father, stop tripping over things and save his family business.
ACT's play runs March 10-13 and March 17-20 with show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.
In a rare treat for theatre goers, the "Pirates of the Great Lakes" playwright will attend a performance of the show on March 13. Following the show, Kochenderfer will go up on stage to discuss his work and take questions from the audience. ACT is opening this opportunity up not just to those who attend the March 13 performance, but also the general public and theatre students at both Alpena Community College and Alpena High School.
"This opportunity is incredible and we're just so thrilled," said Director Donna Mullen. "Tim has been wonderful and given us a lot of freedom to change names of places. This is the first time the play has been done in a community on a shore."
Mullen said ACT has made some changes so that different locations mentioned in the play are more reflective of the Alpena area.
Appearing in the production as Johann is Dylan Goike. Playing the part of Capt. Composure is Paul Brege and as Burgundy Beard is Tom Carney.
Others cast in the show are Pat Mullen as a fisherman, Julie Smith Mandrick as the mother, Bob Coleman as Luscious Charlie, Jeannie Pines as Legs, Rex Reynolds as Brussel Sprout Roberts, Dave Melville as Hammer Hand John, Scott Edgar as Capt. Fishbulb, Doug Niergarth as Doctor Rose, Marie Misel as Delia, Donna Roussin as Flap Jack Jane, Zach Clement as Charlie, the cabin boy, and Landen Revilla and David Browski as seamen.
Among key aspects of the show are the pirate costumes designed by Marilyn Kettler, the set designed by Jay Kettler and the sound effects designed by Carol Witherbee.
"Our production crew has outdone themselves," said Mullen. "There are two ships on stage at the same time the pirate's ship and the people of the town make up their own crew."
She said one of the two ships was done almost single-handedly by Nancy Mead, who also served as the set artist for the show. Many other volunteers helped with set construction and set painting. Mead also painted a scenic backdrop that mimics the Lake Huron shoreline in and around Alpena.
"People who come to see the show are in for a rollicking good time," said Mullen, who has been assisted in directing by her son and ACT veteran Jeff Gilmet. "We've tried to be authentic with things, like the keys for the inn; however, nothing is real so it's all in your imagination."
Other production team members include Maureen Carney as producer and co-stage manager; Jackie Herbert as co-stage manager; Jonathan Beresford and Pat Mullen on lights/sound; Duane Beyer, Jay Kettler, Don Cline and Rex Reynolds on set construction; Gene Ballard, Anne Cline, Don Cline, Maureen Carney, Jackie Herbert and Rex Reynolds as set painters; Fran Hamp and Bronwyn Woolman on cast picture board; and Jackie Herbert and Grace Morrison on outside marquee.
For reservations to "Pirates of the Great Lakes," call the Alpena Civic Theatre box office at 354-3624.