Every year the theater department sponsors a project called the Senior Platform Series, allowing students to produce original work. Many theater majors use the opportunity for their senior project. For Marc Navez however, who graduated last December with a BA in theater with an emphasis in directing musical theater, there simply wasn’t enough time in the schedule of productions for him to produce his work. Luckily, the school has allowed him to come back to realize his dream.
For the past 13 months, Navez has been working on his Senior Theater Platform, a program in the theater department gives seniors a chance to produce and direct their own original work. Navez’s project is a musical adaptation of the novel “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Navez was inspired by the idea during last year’s production of “Oklahoma” when he saw Rebecca Burroughs, a fellow cast member and eventually one of the main characters in his play, playfully saunter down the hall. He suddenly had an idea: “What if Long John Silver was a pimp and the rest of the pirates were his whores?”
The other inspiration came when he was driving home from campus and the song “Firework” by Katy Perry came on the radio.
“It evoked all these emotions,” Navez said. “And I saw the whole play in one instant.”
Navez’s production is a musical, using songs from contemporary artists Pink, Christina Aguilera and other similar artists. The rights of the songs were paid for by the department, who purchased them from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers or ASCAP.
Another aspect that sets this production apart is the fact that gender roles have been switched. In the novel, the protagonist is a boy named Jim Hawkins. In Navez’s production, it is a girl named Jen Hawkins.
“I thought it was a really interesting and daring project,” said Jordan Hall who plays Hawkins.
In the novel, Jim Hawkins feels a connection to Long John Silver that is akin to the father he never had. In Navez’s production, however, the girl Hawkins falls in love with Long John Silver, played by Jason Jensen, only to have her heart broken in the end.
The play also features an ensemble of pirates played by women. Instead of the traditional pirates, it is insinuated that the women also make a living in the red light district, with Long John as their pimp. However, these women are as dangerous if not more so than regular pirates.
“Treasure Island” is playing in the Exbox Theater (GT 627) Thursday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Admission is free.
By Kelly Cannon – Life Editor