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Treasure Island
August- September 2005

Directed by Chrisjohn Hancock 

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest

Yo ho, ho, and a bottle of rum

Drink and the Devil has done for the rest

Yo ho, ho, and a bottle of rum

 

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894)

 

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books, and known especially for his novels of adventure.

 

"But we are so fond of life that we have no leisure to entertain the terror of death. It is a honeymoon with us all through, and none of the longest. Small blame to us if we give our whole hearts to this glowing bride of ours, to the appetites, to honour, to the hungry curiosity of the mind, to the pleasure of the eyes in nature, and the pride of our own nimble bodies." (from 'Aes Triplex')

 

Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson was born in Edinburgh. He was the only son of Thomas Stevenson, a prosperous joint-engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses, and Margaret Balfour, daughter of a Scottish clergyman. Thomas Stevenson invented, among others, the marine dynamometer, which measures the force of waves. Thomas's grandfather was Britain's greatest builder of lighthouses.

 

Since his childhood, Stevenson suffered from tuberculosis. During his early years, he spent much of his time in bed, composing stories before he had learned to read. At the age of sixteen he produced a short historical tale. As an adult, there were times when Stevenson could not wear a jacket for fear of bringing on a haemorrhage of the lung. In 1867 he entered Edinburgh University to study engineering, then law and in 1875 he was called to the Scottish bar. By then he had already started to write travel sketches, essays, and short stories for magazines.

"I travel for travel's sake," Stevenson wrote. "The great affair is to move." With his friend William Ernest Henley he wrote several plays. While in France Stevenson met Fanny Vandegrift Osbourne. In 1879 Stevenson followed her to California where they married in 1880.

Wealth I ask not, hope nor love,
Nor a friend to know me;
All I ask, the heaven above
And the road below me.
(from Songs of Travel)

Stevenson gained first fame with the adventure story TREASURE ISLAND, which appeared first serialized in Young Folks 1881-82. Before it was published in book form Stevenson revised the text. The famous poem from the novel – “Fifteen men on a dead man's chest / Yo-ho-ho, and the bottle of rum” could have originally been "Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest... referring to a Caribbean Island Dead Chest. According to a tale, the notorious pirate Edward Teach left fifteen men on the island of Dead Man's Chest, with a bottle of rum and a sword.

Among Stevenson's other works are KIDNAPPED (1886), THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, based on a dream and written and printed in 10 weeks, THE BLACK ARROW (1888), set in the era of the War of the Roses, and MASTER OF BALLANTRAE (1889).  

"life is monstrous, infinite, illogical, abrupt and poignant; a work of art, in comparison, is neat, finite, self-contained, rational, flowing and emasculate."  

From the late 1880s Stevenson lived with his family in the South Seas, where he had purchased an estate in Samoa. During this Stevenson enjoyed a period of comparative good health. With his stepson Lloyd Osbourne he wrote THE WRONG BOX (1889) and other works. He had nearly 20 servants and was known as 'Tusitala' or 'Teller of the Tales'.

Stevenson died of a brain haemorrhage on December 3, 1894, in Vailima.

Pirates

The history of piracy dates back more than 3000 years, but its accurate account depends on the actual meaning of the word ‘pirate’. In English, the word piracy has many different meanings and its usage is still relatively new. A meaning was first ascribed to the word piracy sometime before the 17th Century. It appears that the word pirate (peirato) was first used in about 140 BC by the Roman historian Polybius. The Greek historian Plutarch, writing in about 100 A.D., gave the oldest clear definition of piracy. He described pirates as those who attack without legal authority not only ships, but also maritime cities. Piracy was described for the first time, among others, in Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey. For a great many years there remained no unambiguous definition of piracy. Norse riders of the 9th and 11th century AD were not considered pirates but rather, were called "Danes" or "Vikings". Another popular meaning of the word in medieval England was "sea thieves". The meaning of the word pirate most closely tied to the contemporary was established in the 18th Century AD. This definition dubbed pirates "outlaws" whom even persons who were not soldiers could kill. The first application of international law actually involved anti-pirate legislation. This is due to the fact that most pirate acts were committed outside the borders of any country.

 

Sometimes governments gave rights to the pirates to represent them in their wars. The most popular form was to give a license to a private sailor to attack enemy shipping on behalf of a specific king – Privateer. Very often a privateer when caught by the enemy was tried as an outlaw notwithstanding the license.

 

Characters

 The Good Guys

Jim Hawkins

 

Lachlan Edwards

Mrs Hawkins

 

Jenny Nell

Dr Livesey

 

Dale Chalker

Squire Trelawney

 

Vincent Davis

Captain Smollett

 

Brian Richardson

Hunter

 

Bruce McGuirk

Joyce

 

Alexander Edwards

Gray

 

Craig Edwards

Redruth

 

Jen Nell

 

The Pirates

Bill Bones “The Captain”

 

Terry Phillips

Black Dog

 

Brian Hill

Blind Pew

 

Craig Edwards

Long John Silver

 

Martin Sanders

Tom Morgan

 

Nick Nell

Anderson

 

Blair Woodcock

George Merry

 

Joshua Phillips

Israel Hands

 

Gosh Waters

Dirk

 

Matthew Kay

Arrow

 

Colin Penfold

Captain Flint

 

Himself

Dick

 

Terry Phillips

Ben Gunn, the marooned one

 

Andrew Mullen

 

Scenes 

Act One

 

The Admiral Benbow Inn, Black Hill Cove

Act Two

sc 1.

The Quay at Bristol

 

Sc 2.

The Quay at Bristol, a few days later

 

Sc 3.

The Hispaniola at anchor off Treasure Island some weeks later

Act Three

Sc 1.

Treasure Island at dawn the following day

 

Sc 2.

The stockade, an hour later

 

Sc 3.

The Hispaniola adrift, night of the same day

Act Four

Sc 1.

The stockade, the following morning

 

Sc 2.

Spyglass Mountain, the north cache

 

Sc 3.

Ben Gunn’s Cave

 Crew

Director/ designer

 

Chrisjohn Hancock

Musical Director & sound recording

 

Peter McLaren

Wardrobe

 

Pauline J Mullen

Stage manager

 

Ellie McMahon

Scenic artist

 

Lee Gray

Head of Construction

 

John Knops

Construction assistants

 

Josh Phillips, Gosh Waters, Martin Sanders, Jenny Nell, Colin Simson

Armourer, map maker and other nautical equipment

 

Will Wilson

Additional weapons

 

Bill Dorman

Lights

 

Fiona Churchill

Sound

 

 

Photographs

 

Craig Edwards

Tickets

 

Doreen Mullen

Front of House Manager

 

Colin Simson

Audience Development Project coordinator

 

Fiona Churchill

Newsletter Editor

 

Brian Hill

Cast & Crew

Dale Chalker – Dr Livesey Dale joined the Lieder last year to play Edward Hines, Mary Ann Brownlow’s neighbour in the famous locally written Ballad. He repeated his role again this year at the Goulburn Court House. Dr Livesey is Dale’s second time aboard the rollicking Lieder ship. We hope he finds treasure at the end of his journey and continues to sail with us in the future.

 

Vincent Davis – Squire Trelawney

Vince’s sense of adventure and desire for treasure chests full of gold and to feel the sea spray on his face was enough to jump aboard this Lieder ship. Vincent was last seen on the Lieder stage in the Beauty Queen of Leenane and before that in Once a Catholic & John Spicer’s 2001 Hamlet. Vincent joined the Company in the 80s to perform in The Taming of the Shrew and The Rainmaker. Since then he has juggled his commitment to his family and work as drama teacher at Mulwaree High School with shows at the Lieder.  But with S.T Coleridge as inspiration and a taste for pickled pork and hard tack he has fallen in love with the pirate life backstage and a newfound interest in the scene changes of this mammoth classic. The Squire be blowed I’d rather be a stagehand!

 

Alexander Edwards - Joyce

Being in need of a decent adventure Alexander has taken to the Lieder stage again surging through the high seas of Lake George to attend rehearsals and fight off two pirates at the same time both bigger than him. Quoting the Muppet movie of Treasure Island as inspiration he has become very handy with a musket and rope and isn’t even complaining about the lack of backstage carpet. He’ll show you the bruises later.  But we’re sure they are no worse than the ones he received in his last role on the Lieder stage in Babes in the Wood. Alex remembers his first sea-faring experience in an inflatable rubber boat in his grandparent’s swimming pool, and apart from a trip on the “Bounty” at 13 he has kept very clear of the sea.

 

Craig Edwards – Blind Pew, Gray

Craig has always wanted a good reason to be nasty and strangle a certain Jim Hawkins and in Treasure Island he has the perfect excuse. Craig is one of the few who get to be both villain and good guy in our play and has found inspiration for both roles by watching the Muppets. He was recently in both productions of The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow and has a regular habit of offering help just when it’s needed at the Theatre. Craig considers being in Lieder plays a good remedy for constipation, a chance to wear funny clothes and meet strange people. Who does he mean??

 

Lachlan Edwards – Jim Hawkins

Lachlan signed up to be a pirate so he could get to speak pirate talk, little did he know that he was too short and his voice wasn’t deep enough. He still thinks its cool being around them as long as he doesn’t have to walk the plank. This year Lachlan has performed in the Youth Theatre’s Acrobatic Fire Show for the Blues’ Festival and opened a conference at the Goulburn Police academy in a performance called Cop This. Last year he was one of the Babes in Sherwood Forest. Now all he thinks about is his pistols and knives and fighting off the villainous Israel Hands. Lachlan is probably the only actor on stage in this play who knows what a dentist is. “The Lieder rocks, arrgg!”

 

Brian Hill – Black Dog

As Brian is obviously excited by vile villainy and plenty of rum he was the perfect choice to play the evil pirate Black dog. Its just that the rum and parrots have meddled with his ability to be really nasty and all he is left with is a malodorous breath and a good sharp knife which he puts to evil use during the show. He was last seen on the Lieder stage as the nasty brother in Inheritance and before that as the rolly – polly Friar in Babes in the Wood. In Treasure Island Brian thought he would get to frighten all the children and cause rum mayhem with the cast. Watch what you say about him as he has spies everywhere me hearties. He’s also on the Lieder board and edits our newsletter. Avast!

 

Matthew Kay – Dirk

Treasure Island is Matthews first journey on the Lieder stage sailing with this motley crew. His knot-tying skills and natural pirate good looks have been an inspiration to the band of villains and vagabonds who draw swords and knives against each other competing for the evilest cutthroat on the high seas. We hope he’ll stay aboard for future voyages with us.

 

Ellie McMahon – stage manager, Captain Flint

One of our mentorees this year, Ellie has taken to piracy like a duck to water or should I say like a pirate to buried treasure. She assisted stage managing our last mainstage play Blight Spirit and then operated lights for The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow in the Goulburn Court House. And while she really wants to be on stage in this show she is only being allowed to play the voice of Capt. Flint. Jealous of the boys and stowed away backstage she has become pretty handy with a cutlass but still prefers the old stiletto as her first choice of weaponry. Lucky she’s in charge of the all the guns and knives, otherwise one would not be safe venturing behind the scenes till all were well and truly tanked up with rum.

 

Bruce McGuirk - Hunter

Bruce hasn’t really mutinied from the Argyle Society but this is the second Lieder play in a row he has crewed. He was recently in our Court House production of The Ballad of Mary Ann Brownlow. He joined this crew because he felt that piracy suited him, rape, pillage and plunder and he’s very handy with a rifle. Bruce’s training to board the Lieder ship was many a rough voyage on the Manly Ferry and to munch on his favourite pirate stew.

 

Andrew Mullen – Ben Gunn

Andrew escaped the taxation department to become a pirate only to be marooned at the Lieder. This is his first role on the boards, shiver me timbers!! But he’s so keen to call himself a nambuccaneer that he’s prepared to do anything, even wear rags sewn together with bits of stick and loops of tarry gaskin. And he does have a pious mother. His favourite weapon is a culverin, m’dear, and a brace o’ pheasants – oh, sorry, pistols. Andrew does also enjoy the odd fish and chips while guarding the doubloons and pieces of eight.

 

Jenny Nell – Mrs Hawkins, Redruth

Not content to sit backstage for more than a moment Jen has set out to make to most of killing off as many pirates as she can, if you can’t join em kill em! Getting her own gun has compensated for not being a baddy. Being the only woman onboard ship with a bunch of rough pirates keeps her alow and aloft. Last seen in Mary Brownlow Jenny’s return to the Lieder has been a welcome one. Apart from a rehearsed reading in 2003 of The Vagina Monologues she has been absent since the mid 80s. Good to have you back onboard. Saddened that she has missed out on the pieces of eight she says I’m really a good baddy, can I be a baddy next time? But Mrs Hawkins is really a lovely mum.

 

Nick Nell– Tom Morgan

Apart form zombies and ninja’s Nick thinks Pirates are the coolest people. And we all think the same at the Lieder. Yo. Ho. Ho, a pirate’s life for me. Arrgh to sail the Hispaniola on the high seas in search of buried treasure just like Johnny Deep in Pirates of the Caribbean. With the only food to live on being rum, rum and more rum. Not to mention his cutlass to slice vegies and scare off little children. Don’t look too closely at his teeth. They were replaced with wooden pegs the last time he saw a dentist. Nicks last training for piracy was as a member of King Ubu’s army fighting off the Ruskies and wild bears in Poland for the Youth Theatre’s tenth year celebrations in 2003.

 

Colin Penfold - Arrow

Colin thinks being a pirate is a lot of fun especially as he can get away with lots of underhanded criminal activity. This is his first time aboard the Lieder ship and he reckons it’s a great place to be, and as well, he gets a sword! Just one little problem for pirate Colin is that he’s not good in a storm and at sea he feels queasy and seasick. Well ahoy me land lubbers if you get too close to Colin while he’s carrying his cutlass he’ll cut yer gizzards out and use them to make rope.

 

Joshua Phillips – George Merry

The competition backstage is to guess how many belts Josh is wearing each night. How many do you think? Josh’s favourite thing about being a pirate is that he gets to fight with his cutlass and tousle with his fellow seamen aboard ordering them about the scene changes. Having set sail for the nations capital this year he has been juggling his time aboard the Lieder with study at Canberra School of Art. He was inspired to join the pirate crew just to play a bad guy and toss Lachlan around after having to be nice to him in Babes. In his spare time he is working had on juggling knives, walking a steel ladder and teaching acrobatics at the theatre after school on Mondays. He says he enjoys dying on stage having had a few opportunities including the Youth Theatre’s Dead One Done where he died 6 times. Josh has confessed to still playing with his pirate Lego.

 

Terry Phillips – Bill Bones, Dick

Terry loves to search for buried treasure and he’s found something at the Lieder to keep him happy. Treasure Island has given him a chance to escape the weak livered swabs and bandy legged lubbers to join the pigtailed singing seamen. Oh what a life! Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum… and where would he be without his trusty cutlass. Getting to cause havoc in the Admiral Benbow Inn throwing rum around and singing drunken sea shanties before heading off to bed to count his golden guineas and moidores. What a change from a merry man in tights as Little John in last year’s Christmas Pantomime, Babes in the Wood. And on the Island he gets to die, many times.

 

Brian Richardson – Captain Smollett

Having had experience sailing Bass Strait in the 60s Brian has threatened to place the director in irons if he is not content with the precautions he is demanding aboard his ship. He came aboard the Lieder to play the Captain as he was interested in the line “Well, we must take precautions, Squire or no Squire”. Little did he know there was about to be a mutiny and he would be in the thick of it. His piece of trivia for us all is that his chosen food “boucan” is actually dried beef and gave the name to our buccaneer. Brian’s enthusiasm for the theatre has inspired a number of voyages to NIDA, his most recent to learn about prop making. We’ll definitely be locking you in the hold until you share that bit of knowledge. He has just recently stepped down from the bar as the hanging judge Stephen who sentenced poor Mary Ann Brownlow to the gallows. And while it’s not seen his favourite weapon is a 24-powder carronade, loaded with grape, or better still a quarter gallon loaded with rum.

 

Martin Sanders – Long John Silver

Stepping out of his police constable shoes in The Ballad of Mary Brownlow Martin thought he would get to play a good guy, even Jim Hawkins but it was not to be. Not when he can grow such a good John Silver beard and is prepared to cut off his leg for the role. And besides villains suit him as his record shows from Fagin to the abusive husband, Kenny Carter in The Removalists to the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. While he becomes a walking arsenal of every weapon conceivable his favourite one is a knife. “It’s the one I can be sneaky with” he says. Martin has a soft spot for pirates, believing they are generally people who have struggled as children to gain recognition from important people in their lives. They only become pirates to be noticed. Arrgh!, ain’t that sweet!

 

Gosh Waters – Israel Hands

Gosh has been working very hard to shake off the nice guy image for this part of Israel Hands the nasty underhanded pirate who is forever fighting Black Dog. If only he would stop watching Baywatch, Inspector Gadget and Ninja Turtles. He says he has always wanted to sail the high seas surrounded by seamen eating seagulls and turtles for lunch. Well, by thunder, at least he thinks the Lieder is cool, as he is our second mentoree this year, currently working on organising Exchange & Change - the 2nd Gathering of Regional Youth Theatre People and our next Acrobatic Fire Show. He also runs introductory acrobatic classes on Mondays. Interested? Gosh carries his weapons concealed and won’t tell what they are. I’m sure you can guess though…

 

Blair Woodcock – Anderson

Blair took up the challenge of piracy because he wanted to be part of the Lieder crew running around pocking their long swords out at each other. His stage experience at the Lieder has not prepared him for this voyage for although he has performed in a few shows here “this one is different to anything I’ve ever done”. You’ll recognise Blair the pirate as he’s the sleepy one, having to rise early to captain Eagle FM with Blair@ brekkie. Or maybe it’s the rum that’s affecting him, as this also seems to be his only sustenance. Blair says he passed up an opportunity to sail on the Young Endeavour to board the Hispaniola from the Lieder dockside. The Lieder is best “cause I can carry a sword and speak like a pirate, pieces of eight, pieces of eight”!!