A Pirate’s Life For Me

A Pirate’s Life For Me

Audio Theatre sails to Treasure Island


When the Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater presents “Treasure Island” — a radio play adapted from the original story told by Robert Louis Stevenson — actors will use a script that has quite the illustrious lineage: It was originally presented in 1938 by the Mercury Theatre on the Air, with Orson Welles playing the roles of Long John Silver and the elder Jim Hawkins.

“We really look for scripts that are a lot of fun, that are interesting and hold the attention of the audience,” says the production’s director, Deborah Goff, of how the company chooses its offerings. “We do have a few people from our groups that are writing scripts, so we might see some homegrown scripts in the near future.”

Goff says that this script, in particular, is family friendly and should appeal to audiences of all ages.

“This is the first time we have had children in our cast, so that’s very exciting for us,” she notes. “They’re doing their pirate stand-up, and they’re doing a great job. After intermission, our two pirates are going to tell jokes to the audience — they’re all pirate-related jokes, and we have an applause sign that will go up after each joke. The boys really enjoy them, because they’re so corny, and it really appeals to their sense of humor.”

Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater will present the show at Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale. Kathleen Trotter, executive director of that organization, says that the partnership is a good one for both groups.

“NWA Audio Theatre is a creative expansion of theater arts,” she says. “We are grateful for the initiative of this group to learn a new artform and offer it to the community. As an arts partner, NWAAT serves two purposes important to the Arts Center of the Ozarks — provides entertainment at a modest price and engages people in art in a new way.”

Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater prides itself on its facility with sound effects — critical in a radio play — and sound effects for “Treasure Island,” says Goff, will not disappoint.

Courtesy Photo
The large cast of Northwest Arkansas Audio Theater’s “Treasure Island” will include actors Aaron Anderson as the adult Jim Hawkins, Amy Hardin as young Jim Hawkins and Ralph Sweatte as Long John Silver.

“It’s a derring-do type of show, so the sound effects include musket fire-fighting,” she says. “We have a lot of sounds of surf and sand and wind, so we’ve made a wind machine. Sound effects will make it sound like we’re tearing up a house, a door that can open and slam and sandpaper that sounds like people are walking in the sand. It makes it a lot of fun, and people will see the sound effects being made, which is even more fun.”

In fact, seeing stage magic that would usually be accomplished behind the scenes is part of the appeal of radio plays, Goff says — and encourages the audience to use their imaginations.

“You can close your eyes and imagine what’s going on,” she says. “The actors are not center stage, it’s actually the story. The costumes are very simple, and the script is center stage. People can imagine what’s going on, and people really seem to enjoy that.

“A lot of our patrons are older, and they remember listening to radio shows. A lot of the younger crowd really enjoy it as well when they come — it’s kind of novel in this day and age.”



‘Treasure Island’

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. June 1-2; 3 p.m. June 2-3

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 S. Main St., Springdale

COST — $5-$10

INFO — 751-5441

Categories: Theater