More than 30 local children took to the high seas Saturday at the Vive Les Arts Theatre in the Missoula Children’s Theater group’s production of “Treasure Island.”
The sea-faring adventure followed Jim Hawkins — played by Caden Hawkins, coincidentally — an idealistic young lad living with his mother, played by Parker Reed, and six sisters, played by Candice Burch, Clara Green, Alyssa Allen, Sara Kennison, Jaina Wrex, and Sanna-Belle Wheeler. The family lives in coastal Maine during the last throes of the American Revolution in the year 1782. Jim’s dreams of sailing the Seven Seas come true when he crosses paths with the cunning and comical pirate lord, Long John Silver, played by tour actor/co-director Nick Schommer.
Jim and his friends embark on a thrilling quest for treasure with the charming Silver and his crew. The play was a treasure, emphasizing laughs, song, and the gift of friendship.
Katie Kennison, 11, who played one of Silver’s pirate crew, Sing Sing Sam, enjoyed being a part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre Group.
“I think we did a great job, our directors were really nice and I had a great time,” she said.
Katie’s older sister Sarah Kennison, 14, loved performing as one of Jim Hawkins’ sisters.
“I thought the play was super fun and a super exciting thing to do, especially when you’re stuck in the house all summer. It’s good to get out and be able to do something that has a bunch of different kids, you can meet new people, and you can have an exciting time. I liked that we got to do multiple things: we got to sing, we got to dance, we got to talk. We had a wide range,” she said.
Another of the Hawkins sisters, Jaina Wrex, 13, found similarities between herself and her character.
“It was really good for all the kids and parents to enjoy. I had a lot of fun performing as a sister, we love Jim and we missed him but we didn’t miss him. I have a brother and I act the same exact way to him.” she said, laughing.
The Missoula’s Children’s Theatre is a touring project and has worked with 65,000 children in more than 1,200 communities in all 50 states and 17 countries.
“It’s been a ton of fun,” McKenna Hiler, co-director of Missoula Children’s Theatre said, “We’ve been here the whole summer. We started in May and traveled to seven different states since then. I loved the whole thing: the kids, being able to perform, traveling, and being able to direct and teach. They’re all things that I’ve been wanting to do. It was everything I dreamed of wrapped into one nice little bow.”
The one-performance play was developed as an adaptation to Robert Louis Stevenson’s original epic work “Treasure Island.” The musical featured participants ages 7 to 14 and was part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre’s unique international touring project. The performance was sponsored by the Vive Les Arts Children’s Theatre and Big Chief Distributing Company.