Don’t worry, parents; though “Bluenose,” the wonderful Theatre for Young Audiences production playing this week and next at the Thunder River Theatre Company in Carbondale, is aimed at kids ages 6 and up, you’ll stay entertained, too.
“It’s very funny,” said Corey Simpson, TRTC’s executive artistic director. “There’s lots of humor in there that adults will get that will go over kids’ heads, but then there are also these great messages.”
Couched in the musical story of three red-nosed pirates who encounter a blue-nosed pirate on the high seas, the play’s messages include “the importance of reading and books, accepting others, openness to other cultures and other languages and working together.”
This is the third year TRTC has done a Theatre for Young Audiences production, but this year, thanks to some generous underwriting, in addition to the four shows at the theater, they will be touring “Bluenose” to Glenwood Springs Elementary School and Carbondale Middle School, where students from all of those towns’ schools will get to see the show.
“The underwriting is allowing us to take the production to those two schools, and there’s no cost to the schools or the students,” said Simpson. “So there are more than 800 kids who are going to be able to see this production.”
The show will be directed by Sonya Meyer, the talented singer, actress and director who has emerged as a major presence on the local performing arts scene, and one of her major directorial choices was a doozy, as she cast the role of Captain Ratt, a bullying red-nosed pirate typically played by a man, as a woman.
“I wanted one of the red-nosed pirates to be a woman,” said Meyer, “and I felt weird about this bossy, mean, chauvinistic captain belittling a woman (blue-nosed pirate Ku), so I thought a woman captain would be interesting. And then I found out that there actually were a lot of female pirates, so it seemed like a great way to showcase that fact.”
Following Meyer’s vision, TRTC technical director Sean Jeffries (who Meyer called a “genius”), built a set and sound design that Simpson called “beautiful.”
“It’s definitely a full-scale production,” said the not-easily-impressed TRTC head man, “and they’re really creating the world of a ship.”
A ship that, as we noted before, is fun for more than just kids.
“It’s really a show for everyone,” said Meyer. “There are a lot of jokes that are very much for adults. And it’s very, very physical. The cast is all over the place with diving and swords. It’s got all kinds of stuff. There’s lot of messages, and there are lots jokes for all ages, so it’s super fun. I think it’s going to be a blast.”
A cannon blast, perhaps, with it being pirates and all?
Showtimes are Friday nights, April 12 and 19, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays, April 13 and 20, and at 2 p.m. For tickets and information, visit thunderrivertheatre.com.