For Marc Navez’s Senior Theater Platform, he took the story of ‘Treasure Island’ and asked himself, ‘What if Long John Silver was a pimp and the rest of the pirates were his whores?’ What followed was an original musical with buccaneers, buried treasure and contemporary pop music.
Every year the theater department sponsors a project called the Senior Platform Series, allowing students to produce original work. Many theater majors use the oportunity for their senior project. For Marc Navez, however, a 2011 December graduate with a bachelor’s in theater and 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 which gives seniors a chance to produce and direct their own original work. Navez’s project is a musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Treasure Island.”
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 pop artists. The rights to the songs were paid for by the department, which 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.
Kelly Cannon – Life Editor