Feb 26, 2008

*ODDFELLOWS** JUNIOR REPERTORY COMPANY PRESENTS TREASURE ISLAND***

Oddfellows Junior Repertory Company presents a mainstage production of Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story of pirates and buried treasure on March 6-15. Kim West directs an ensemble cast of 17 actors from throughout central Connecticut, ages 12-14, in this story of the adventures of young Jim Hawkins and the wily Long John Silver.

Filled with murderous pirates, a treasure map, and exploits on the high seas, Treasure Island is one of literature’s best-known coming of age stories--the tale of a boy who leaves home, goes on a journey, and returns home with maturity and insight that transform his life. Told by Jim Hawkins years later as he reflects back on his life, this familiar story traces his adventure from the rural English village where he unwittingly finds the map to a legendary treasure. Accompanied by two local gentlemen who unknowingly hire a ship with a crew of pirates, Jim sails to the West Indies in search of buried riches. The cunning pirate Long John Silver schemes to get the treasure for himself but ultimately helps Jim take over the ship, outwit the other pirates, secure the gold, escape the island, and return home. Along the way, Jim learns about bravery, greed, friendship, independence, and the ambiguity of morality.

The imagery of Treasure Island decisively influenced public perception of pirates—one-legged seamen with parrots on their shoulders, the Black Spot which signaled doom for anyone who received it, a weathered map marked with an “X,” rum and sea chanteys, the black Jolly Roger flag with skull and crossbones, and buried gold on tropical islands. This adaptation by Eric Schmiedl was first presented at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 2005. Oddfellows’ talented Junior Repertory Company brings a host of compelling characters to life as they tell a terrific story.
Support for Oddfellows Playhouse 2007-08 season comes from the CT State Department of Education, the CT Commission on Culture & Tourism, Middlesex United Way, The Stare Fund, The Middletown Foundation for the Arts, and the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Treasure Island previews at Oddfellows Playhouse at 128 Washington Street in Middletown on Thursday, March 6 at 7 pm, with a “can-can” performance (pay-what-you-can and bring a can for the Amazing Grace food pantry). Additional performances are on March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 adults and $7 students and seniors. For more information or to reserve tickets, call (860) 347-6143.

Feb 5, 2008

*ODDFELLOWS PLAYHOUSE PRESENTS /BLISS/ *

Oddfellows Playhouse Maplewood Terrace/Chatham Court Senior Troupe presents /Bliss/, a social satire about four aspiring teen music artists and a mega music corporation. Originally created by participants in the Student Theatre Enrichment Program (STEP) at Cleveland Public Theatre, /Bliss/ comes to Connecticut with an all new cast of talented teens. Directed by Bobbye Knoll, /Bliss /will be presented at Oddfellows on February 15 and 16 at 7:30 pm.

/Bliss/ takes its viewers into the not-too-distant future, where the music industry is run by a single corporate entity known as Omni. When a surprise dip in music sales occurs, Omni’s top brass needs a mega-hit. In an American Idol-style audition, a new super group is formed—Diversity—whose first single soars to #1 on the charts even before it is written. In a play filled with music and dance, the teens deliver a message about staying true to yourself in the face of overnight success and media manipulation.

/Bliss/ is the fourth mainstage collaboration between teens in Oddfellows’ Neighborhood Troupes, a free after-school performing arts program for residents of low-income neighborhoods. The teenagers from Maplewood Terrace in Middletown and Chatham Court in Portland are primarily African American and Latino, ages 13-17. These young actors have invited four members of Oddfellows’ Teen Repertory Company to join them in presenting this artistically challenging and thought-provoking production. Director Bobbye Knoll has been impressed by the hard work of all the teens and is really proud of the efforts the cast has made to become a unified ensemble.

Special support for /Bliss/ comes from The Olga Sipolin Children’s Fund. Support for the Neighborhood Troupes in 2007-08 comes from Middlesex United Way, Middletown Youth Services Bureau, Liberty Bank Foundation, Middlesex County Community Foundation, Citizens Bank, The Thomas J. Atkins Memorial Fund, Elizabeth Carse Foundation, Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council, and the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

All performances of /Bliss /will be at Oddfellows Playhouse, 128 Washington Street (Rte 66), in Middletown. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For reservations or more information, please call (860) 347-6143.