By Andrea Bellew
“The Pirates of Pinafore” debuted Friday, Nov. 8 in the Chapel. It was a mishmash of Gilbert and Sullivan characters and themes all thrown into one cohesive operetta parody about three ships marooned on the island of Atlantis with different groups (warrior women, pirates, study abroad students and Sir Joseph and his daughters) living together as four women fight for the love of Ralphric (Morgan Fralick, senior).
The four women were sweet, ladylike daughter Josephine (Nikita Taggart, junior); confident, savage warrior woman Patience (Sarah Cox, junior); haughty, fierce daughter Mabel (Briana Gibson, junior); and silly, simple-minded study abroad student Yum-Yum (Sarah Smith, senior). They, along with the rest of the cast, had amazing, strong voices and upped the comedic antics.
I agree with the students who said it was hard to understand what was sung sometimes and that the sound system did not help (although they could not help the sound system mishaps), but as Cassidy Clayton, freshman, said, “it’s very first-time-opera-going-friendly.”
Seaton Stiles, senior, said, “it was very interactive.” In fact, one warrior woman (Meagan Henry, sophomore) walked through the row I was seated in and everyone in it was shocked, yet laughed like crazy.
The actors not only recognized that there was an audience to engage with, but also that they were parodying Gilbert and Sullivan. Indeed one of my favorite props was the made-up “Gilbert and Sullivan Operation Book” that a stagehand brought out for sassy Baby Ruth (Wes Moses, senior) to read to Ralphric, her best friend.
Speaking of Baby Ruth and Ralphric, there is another form of comedic gold. Ralphric is supposed to be a handsome, macho pirate king elect and Baby Ruth is supposed be a beautiful pirate woman who secretly pines for him. Yet, these characters are portrayed by the opposite sexes of what they are supposed to be.
Smith had a nice beard grown out for his role, and Fralick is just so petite—not the epitome of a macho man that all the women were swooning over. Something that would always get a laugh out of the audience was when Jospehine and Baby Ruth would try to hug Ralphric or lay their head on his shoulder because they were both so much taller than him.
Most of the students I talked to applauded the performance. Altogether, I have to agree with Braden Bocard, sophomore, who put it simply, “It was really good and entertaining and funny.”