Paradoxical pirates and bumbling policemen

Music Theatre Ensemble

School District No. 46 Music Theatre Ensemble will be presenting their second annual show, Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Thirty students from all three secondary schools on the Coast and several elementary schools, ranging in age from 12 to 18, have been rehearsing once a week since September on singing, acting and dancing to present this humorous story.

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“It’s a ton of work,” said musical director Sara Douglas, “but so many wonderful things have come out of it.”

The goal of starting the musical theatre was to encourage kids to sing. The performances have helped the students to bond and it has given them confidence.  Although a few adults from a community choir will round out the chorus this time, the majority of the work has been accomplished by the students themselves.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta is packed full of sentimental orphaned pirates, bumbling policemen, absurd adventures and improbable paradoxes.

Frederic, a pirate’s apprentice played by Matthew Douglas, falls head-over-heels in love with Mabel (Jana Wildeisen), the daughter of “the very model of a modern major-general” (Gabriel Ryan), as the song goes. Frederic is due to be released from his apprenticeship on his 21st birthday, but there’s a snag. Born on Feb. 29 in a leap year, Frederic discovers that he is technically still a youngster. Although very much in love, his dedication to duty is unshakable.

Rounding out the cast is a pirate king (James Douglas) who is full of bluster, a police force who are afraid of pirates, a pirate maid/nanny (Charlotte Norman) who doesn’t want to be unemployed and a bevy of beautiful maidens, who are cast as the major-general’s many daughters.

Annika Cleland-Hura, 16, is the student costume designer. Tom Kellough provides the rollicking piano accompaniment for the multitude of songs in the show.

Pirates of Penzance runs March 3 and 4 at Chatelech Secondary School at 7 p.m.  Admission is by donation.

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