A comic operetta is an ideal choice for young actors, according to Meaford Theatre Company director Kim Ransom, who, along with Brittany Knight, is directing the upcoming production of HMS Pinafore at Woodford Hall on December 10-13.
HMS Pinafore is a Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration which opened in London, England, in 1878. The story takes place onboard a Royal Navy ship. “It’s the story of a massive love triangle that gets resolved,” Ransom said. “It’s a spoof on 19th century British Navy, British rule, and class distinctions, a fun play the features a sea captain and his daughter, an admiral, sailors, urchins, and a street vendor. The production evolved out of a MTC workshop earlier this year that introduced youth 12-16 years to all aspects of theatre, from script writing to acting, to building sets, directing, staging, voice, characterization, and movement in a fun collaborative way. When I first broached the subject of an operetta, the youths said, ‘No, No, No’, but when I made a tape of me half singing and half speaking the lyrics, they were more comfortable with the idea. Most of them came to the next rehearsal with the songs memorized.”
The youth have embraced the idea of a comic operetta wholeheartedly. “The play lends itself to a large cast,” Ransom said. “It can be expanded to accommodate as many actors as want to be on stage, some in strong leading roles, others in secondary roles. One graduate of the youth workshop, Wesley Travis, stepped up to be the sound and lighting technician, while his sister Dorothy Travis produced a set design that inspired the final stage design, and Olina Veniza produced a set of designs for costuming.”
Adult members of MTC, Todd Wood, Dorothy Embacher, Marie Burnett, Brian Fray, and Chris Fray have worked with Ransom to transform the Woodford Hall stage into an electorate 19th century British navy ship, and Rhonda Emerson has created an impressive wardrobe of period costumes for the production.
There will be one performance of HMS Pinafore on Saturday, December 10, at 1 pm, two performances on Sunday, December 11, noon. and 3 p.m., two performances for students in Grades 4-6 on on Monday, December 12 and two for Grade 4-6 students on Tuesday, December 13. Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday performances are $15 for adults and children $5, available at Craig Gallery and Sheardown’s Wine Bar and Cuisine in Meaford.