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High Seas Drama

Disguised as a female to infiltrate Scurvy Sal’s camp, one of Blackboot’s men has been discovered in a scene from Blackboot’s Lost Loot, the annual fundraiser for Chawanakee Academy, April 29. From left are pirates Emma Prescott, Sara Lynch, Emma Johnson (Scurvy Sal), Lilly Alsup, Amanda Page, Joshua Lynch (Blackboot), Carter Coleman, Ben Johnson, Caleb Lynch (the infiltrator), and Cade Topping.
Disguised as a female to infiltrate Scurvy Sal’s camp, one of Blackboot’s men has been discovered in a scene from Blackboot’s Lost Loot, the annual fundraiser for Chawanakee Academy, April 29. From left are pirates Emma Prescott, Sara Lynch, Emma Johnson (Scurvy Sal), Lilly Alsup, Amanda Page, Joshua Lynch (Blackboot), Carter Coleman, Ben Johnson, Caleb Lynch (the infiltrator), and Cade Topping. Sierra Star

“Ahoy and avast ye, me mateys” (hello and pay attention, my friends).

The Chawanakee Academy’s Drama Club will present Blackboot’s Lost Loot, the story of Captain Blackboot and his crew doing what pirates do best - hunting for something that doesn’t belong to them - lost booty (treasure).

However, the greedy buccaneers have company. A mysterious castaway, a trio of ornithologists (bird experts), a reporter, and a rival band of female pirates led by Scurvy Sal are all also on the hunt ... and on the same island ... “arghhhh” ... a sure-fire recipe for sword-slashing disaster.

Sal threatens to use a secret weapon should she and her girls be hornswaggled (cheated) by Blackboot out of their rightful share. To learn exactly what that weapon is, Blackboot orders two of his men to disguise themselves as women to spy on Sal. His plan runs awry when Sal’s crew comes face-to-face with the spies, who, mistaken for dancing girls are forced to dance until their ineptness exposes the charade.

“In this ridiculously silly treasure chest full of laughs, the pirates raid the audience for treasure, the ornithologists find their duck, the castaway reveals his identity, and the reporter shares a big secret,” Becky Cairns, drama teacher and director said. “Colorful characters and lots of action make this fun.”

For Joshua Lynch, 17, who has performed with the drama club for four years, playing Blackboot has been a real hoot. “I’m out to do in my bitter enemy, Scurvy Sal,” he said, “and believe me there will be no treasure sharing.”

Scurvy (Emma Johnson), 15, and in her eighth year as a performer, is no big fan of arch rival Blackboot, and while her character is mean and nasty, she said with a sweet smile that she doesn’t think she’s very good at it. That may change, however, once she learns Blackboot’s plans on hoarding the treasure for himself.

Chawanakee’s annual dinner, silent auction, and night of theatre takes place April 29 at Sierra Pines Church. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., with show time an hour later.

The 14-member cast will also perform a couple of short comedy sketches, and the Junior Drama Club, consisting of 15 students, will present Manners on the High Seas.

For some of the younger performers, this is their first play. Even though Daniel Crotty, 8, plays pirate Squeamish, he’s anything but. No stranger to the stage, he’s played the violin publicly, so nervousness never enters the equation. With heavy dark make-up and an out-of-control wig begging for a good scrubbing and brushing, Crotty said he loves dressing up, so this won’t be his last play.

Parrot Crackers, played by Molly Alsup, 11, admitted to being as rude as her captain, Fancy Pants. “I like showing off a lot. It makes me feel powerful inside,” Alsup said proudly puffing up her chest, “so I guess I’m a powerful parrot.”

“This marks our twelfth year producing a dinner theater for the mountain community and every year seems better than the last,” Cairns continued. “Even though their learning begins at home, all the world is a stage for our students.”

Cairns started the drama club more than a decade ago, which is open to all ages transitional kindergarten (TK) through high school, to help young children face their fears of speaking in public.

Chawanakee Academy Charter is a TK-12th grade public school and part of the Chawanakee Unified School District, offering alternative education with high school students in independent studies, and students TK-8th home schooled.

“This is our only fundraiser,” Cairns added, “and the monies raised not only fund our drama club, but provide scholarships for graduates, and purchase school supplies depending on the year’s need. We hope the community will come out to support us just as they have in previous years.”

Tickets are $15 for adults, and $5 for children age 12 and under. Tickets at the door are $20. A silent auction will take place throughout the performances.

Now that his ship has weighed anchor in Oakhurst, Blackboot (on steadied sea legs and with Captain Parrot La Foot perched loyally at his side) will be keeping watch with his one good eye, welcoming all comers with a hearty, “arghhh.”

Details or tickets: (559) 868-4200.

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