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TMHS Theater Company Takes On Daunting Challenge With 'Treasure Island: A Silent Adventure'

Jan 29, 2015 02:59PM ● By Bill Gilman

The Tewksbury High Theater Company will present a silent version of Treasure Island on Feb. 6

Most people are familiar with the "silent movie" entertainment genre. But a silent play?
That's exactly the challenge the 
TMHS Theatre Company has taken on with "Treasure Island: A Silent Adventure."
The Theatre Company will be performing the World Premier of their  original adaptation one night only, Friday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Dr. Christine L. McGrathPerforming Arts Center.
Tickets will be available at the door: $10 adults and $5 seniors/students. The company will also be performing this show as their entry into the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild and at the International Thespian Society One Act Festivals, both being held at TMHS.
Like silent films, the production has a musical accompaniment that blends with the action on stage.
They partnered with student Charles Stacey, of Phillips Academy Andover, to create an
original fully orchestrated score for the entire show. 
“Everything we do on stage lines up with the music exactly,” said student assistant director John Hughes. “It gives the same effect you would have for a (silent) movie, but the magic comes from knowing this is a live performance.”
The more difficult sequences to match up with the soundtrack were the fight scenes. Fight
director Kai Tsikosi, acting major at Emerson College, has been working with the company to
teach the sword fights.
“Combat on stage is all about safety, which is why it requires hours of training,” says Tsikosi. “We work hard to make it believable and safe. For our sword fights we have channeled the Errol Flynn genre, and there are times when we have ten swords being actively used on stage.”
But unlike a movie, which can use close-ups and various camera angles to help convey emotions and storyline, the actors in "Treasure Island: A Silent Adventure" must rely entirely on their own actions.
"We really tried to focus on physicality of the actor in the show, meaning how they have to show how they feel versus a character saying lines to clue in those watching," said Hughes.
Based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s masterful novel, TREASURE ISLAND is a stunning yarn of piracy on the tropical seas. Beginning in 1775 England, the story quickly becomes an
unforgettable tale of treachery and mayhem featuring a host of legendary swashbucklers. At the
center of it all is a colorful cast of characters unlike any other: a young tavern boy, an evil fry
cook, an ex-naval captain, wealthy courtiers, and pirates galore.
"For the most part we tried to keep it as true to the novel as we could. Yet being restricted by music beats and sounds it's challenging," said Hughes.
Forty-five students in the cast and crew have been creating this show since last June to bring the piece to life. 
Under the direction of Jessica Harms with technical direction by James DeStefano, this family
friendly adventure is sure to capture the hearts of audiences of all ages. Before the company
brings the show to the METG and ITS Festivals, come see this magnificent piece on Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at TMHS.
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