Jackson Middle School sails the high seas in classic tale ‘Treasure Island’

Nearly five-dozen 6th graders at Jackson Middle School will step into the spotlight this weekend to stage “Treasure Island.” Based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and written by Mary Donnelly and George L. O. Strid, audiences will hearken back to the mid-18thcentury for a swashbuckling tale of pirates and hidden treasure. But hold onto your hats mateys, because there’s danger in these turbulent waters.

From left to right are pirates Paige Frigaard, Davis McElmurry and Spencer LaMott rehearsing a song from the show. (Photo by Mindy Mateuszczyk)

From left to right are pirates Paige Frigaard, Davis McElmurry and Spencer LaMott rehearsing a song from the show. (Photo by Mindy Mateuszczyk)

The tale follows the adventures of young Jim Hawkins, the son of an innkeeper, and his run-in with pirates and subsequent hunt for the island holding Captain Flint’s treasure. Mayhem and mutiny abound as the tale takes to the high seas.

For Avery Johnson, who plays Capt. Smullet, the biggest challenge of rehearsing the show is making sure everyone in the group is prepared and on the same page.

“Everyone needs to remember their lines because if one person messes up, it can mess everyone else up,” he said.

He says one of the most exciting “not-to-be-missed” scenes is a gigantic battle for which the actors learned stage combat and the use of slow-motion choreography to enact.

Lara Nelson, who appears as Pirate 1 — Mahogany Alpaca Nelson — says that although the tale is primarily a drama, there are some fun parts too that are sure to draw laughs.

Rehearsing since mid-September, the nearly five-dozen pirates, townspeople and ensemble have committed to a schedule that sometimes means compromise with other activities. For example, Johnson says it’s been tough to squeeze in karate classes around rehearsals.

“But in the end it’s been worth it,” he said.

Nelson enjoys rehearsal not only because she gets to sing and dance, two activities she loves, but she enjoys the extra time with friends.

The music in the show portrays different styles with different songs. Johnson is looking forward to performing “Apple a Day,” a Jamaican influenced song in which he has a solo.

“The show has been so much fun,” said director Ruth Morgan. “It is a very enthusiastic and positive bunch of students.”

The show sets sail Nov. 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. Donations for tickets will be taken at the door. $4 adults, $2 students and $10 per family. The public is invited to attend. Located at 6000 109th Avenue North, Champlin.

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