The Pirates of the Kootenai” puts kids centerstage

By: Stacy Walenter

The Pitiful Players will take to the stage in Troy and Libby this weekend, but for this production, something will be a bit different.
“The Pirates of the Kootenai,” a rollicking tale of three great pirates– Redbeard, Bluebeard, and Blackbeard–features an all-kid cast. With the exception of director Keith Meyers and costume designer Susan James, there won’t be an adult in sight. Even the assistant director is Troy High School student Sarah Osborne.
While a cast made up of only children may seem daunting to some, or like the proverbial herding of cats, to director Meyers, kids are inspiring and he loves their energy and enthusiasm.
“And they grow up and end up in our adult shows!” Meyers said.
In the play, two kids lurk in the periphery of a pirate crew hoping to join the ranks. The pirates are hatching a scheme to kidnap Princess Ethylene and collect a ransom (or is it a reward?).
Nothing goes as planned for the band of pirates, who may or may not know the difference between port and starboard, who may or may not know all seven seas, and who may or may not know what to do with a cell phone.

In addition to the actors, Karina Hancock’s dance students will enhance the performance as mermaids.
When asked why Hancock and Meyers have decided to fuse their respective disciplines recently, Hancock said, “The performing arts walk upon the common path of emotional and creative expression; on the stage they merge into one art form.”
Meyers said, “They [the dancers] add so much to what we do. Dance is such an integral part of being human.”
The kids, who range in age from eight to 18, are having just as much fun as Meyers.
Nine year old Libby student Sidnie Thompson, who is in her first Pitiful Players production and plays Hawkins, said “I like the play and my part. It’s a really fun play!”
Troy fourth grader Shelby Cole, who is in her second Pitiful Players production and plays Princess Ethylene, concurs. “Keith is a great coach and I love the Pitiful Players!” she said. “Other students should get involved and have fun like me!”
“People should come see this play because it will be full of laughs. There will be good arguments and nonsense!” said fellow Troy fourth grader Dmitrii Walenter, who is in his seventh production with Meyers and plays the pirate Redbeard.
Pitiful Players productions are always free to the public. This family-friendly production will premiere in Troy on Saturday, March 17th at 7pm at the Lincoln Theater. On Sunday, March 18th, the show will be at the Dome Theater at 7pm. This will be the first time the Pitiful Players have staged a play at the Dome.