Watching a rehearsal of How I Became A Pirate, I’m surprised to discover the cast have only been practising for two days. I happen to drop-in while they are rehearsing the opening scenes for the musical.
“Seriously guys, since we started that is 500 per cent better,” Flying Arrow Productions artistic director Anita Hallewas tells the cast, before sending them off on a much deserved break.
Hallewas tells me How I Became a Pirate will be the first musical to hit the stage at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre, and the first musical in Revelstoke since 2009’s community performance of Chicago.
Part of Flying Arrow Productions two-week summer musical camp, How I Became A Pirate consists of an all-youth cast, ranging in age from six to 18. In total there are 20 youth involved in the musical, including the chorus, actors, musicians, and backstage helpers.
“Everyone that wants to be involved is involved in some capacity,” said Hallewas.
Hailey Christie-Hoyle, who plays Sharktooth (a character originally written as a man), takes time to give me an overview of the musical, which is based on the book How I Became A Pirate by Melinda Long.
“Jeremy Jacob is on the beach for a beach day with his family. His parents have to leave with his little sister. These pirates show up and they are looking for a digger. They see Jeremy Jacob’s sandcastle and think he would be a good digger,” said Christie-Hoyle.
This of course leads to Jeremy Jacob going off with the pirates on an adventure, however it turns out he has a lot to teach them. He teaches them to play soccer, and about love, as Christie-Hoyle’s character ends up being a mother figure to Jacob while he is aboard the pirate ship.
Talking to the cast, it’s easy to get a sense of how much fun they’re having – and what a close knit group they are.
“It’s so much fun, you get to over-act,” said Roman Beruschi, who plays the first mate.
“This is fun. You’re singing and dancing,” said Grayson Norsworthy, who plays Captain Braidbeard.
Hallewas said that by the end of the first day of rehearsals, the participants had formed into a close-knit group.
“It’s just fun being with everyone,” said Christie-Hoyle. “We’re all friends from different ages.”
How I Became a Pirate is the fourth show to be presented by Flying Arrow Productions, which is a non-profit with a board of directors.
“The reason I started it was because I saw a need in the community for this type of programming,” said Hallewas. “It’s really exciting, but it has been a big learning curve for me.”
How I Became A Pirate will be performed July 16 at 6 p.m., and July 17 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. All shows are at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Big Mountain Kitchen and Linen.