Contributed by Lilia Burtonpatel
What happens when you put two rival groups on the same island looking for the same treasure? Well, this year’s freshman actors are here to take you along for the ride and show you their impeccable acting (and dancing) skills.
“Almost Treasure Island,” directed by Elena Maimonis, is a funny and lighthearted single-act play spectacularly put on by this year’s freshmen. The story follows two sets of people, the Pirates and the Villagers, who are both searching for hidden treasure buried on an island. But there’s a catch: each group only has half of the map and cannot find the treasure without the piece that they don’t have. This fanciful play, full of magic, humor, dancing and incredibly impressive actors, was a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
There were many amusing and whimsical parts of this play that provoked instances of laughter and cheers from the audience. The chief engines of this hilarity were Jeff and Eli, played by freshmen Rafay Ali and Horizon Alfred, respectively. Jeff’s magic tricks, which were not always successful, and Eli’s silly and playful delivery of lines, made for two uproarious comical characters.
Another notable scene was when freshman Flannery Poon’s Jenny, a budding actress training for her role on the island, is enlisted by the Villagers to help steal the other half of the map from the Pirates. She attempts to seduce Eli, who has the map, and is able to slip away to deliver the map to the Villagers, all while Eli delivers a heartfelt monologue about how much he likes Jenny.
One standout performer, in my opinion, was Roger, played by freshman Devin Sullivan, the (debatable) captain of the pirate ship. Sullivan projected loudly and easily took command of the stage as the treasure-seeking and energetic pirate leader. They did an excellent job portraying such a loud and demanding character and did it with confidence and self-assurance to boot.
Overall, the performers took on these bold roles with ease, and their obvious dedication to their characters added even more to the show. They all adapted well to performing with masks, as the impediment had no impact on my understanding and enjoyment of the show, and they all worked very well together, with their on-stage chemistry off the charts.
As for the technical parts, the set was designed very well, with two impressive palm trees standing tall on a multi-leveled island. The costumes were simple, yet very effective, and I appreciated how they made it easy to distinguish between the Pirates, Villagers and Islanders, even down to the color of their masks (Pirates wore black masks, Villagers wore blue and Islanders wore white). The lighting and sound effects were also enjoyable, as there were some funny parts made even funnier by some choice spotlights and songs.
My only complaint, and a very minor one at that, was the slightly random dance number to “Eye of the Tiger.” It was a very well-choreographed and cohesive number, but it appeared out of nowhere and had me a little confused as to why it was included.
The play ended happily and heartwarmingly with the Pirates and Villagers harmoniously getting over their differences and ending on an amicable note.
This was an overall spectacular freshman play, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Saturday evening — full of humor, magic and fun.