Tag Archives: Caribbean theater

Blacktip Island Divemasters To Stage Lizzie Borden Snorkeling Tribute

Lizzie Borden

Several of the hand axes that will be used in Saturday afternoon’s performance of Don’t Ax Me Again—The Lizzie Borden Story, an original two-act play by local divemaster Alison Diesel. (photo courtesy of Magnolia677)

Dive staff from all Blacktip Island’s resorts will don snorkel gear Saturday afternoon to perform Don’t Ax Me Again—The Lizzie Borden Story in the Eagle Ray Divers pool to raise money for a local charity.

“A hundred years later people are still debating what happened,” videographer Leigh Shore said. “There was a damn-near fight among dive staff at happy hour over who the actual ax murderer had been. Then a few days later, Alison Diesel’d written a two-act play about it. We all got together to stage the thing since the Community Players wouldn’t touch it.

“We’re performing it in the pool so as many people as possible could see it first hand,” Shore said. “The snorkeling gear will really engage the diving audience. We were going to do it on scuba, but this seemed less cliché. And it’s surprisingly easy to understand lines spoken through snorkels.”

The production posed several challenges for the actors.

“It’s totally a period piece, but there’s no 1890s gear on the island,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “Each actor ended up making their own costume. It’s amazing what you can do with neoprene, and the fin de siècle touches on the masks and snorkels is awesome.

“It also took some practice swinging an ax convincingly in a crowed swimming pool without actually hurting anyone,” Diesel said. “The handle gets slippery. The first rehearsal I lost my grip, the ax went flying and broke four pool tiles. Rich Skerritt’s pretty hacked off about that.”

The performance will feature:

Alison Diesel as Lizzie Borden

Gage Hoase as Andrew Borden

Leigh Shore as Abigail Borden

Marina DeLow as John Morse

Booger Bottoms as Maggie Sullivan

Finn Kiick as Dr. Owen Seabury

Some in the community questioned the play’s appropriateness.

“The subject’s in bad taste, and the staging is inappropriate,” resident Frank Maples said. “Bad taste and inappropriate are de rigueur on Blacktip, but still, there’s a certain gravitas one would hope for. We’ll see if the actors convey that in the live performance.

“The big worry, though, is it may give locals crazy ideas,” Maples said. “That’s the last thing Blacktip needs. Though Alison assures me it is for a good cause.”

Diesel said the money raised will go to charity.

“All proceeds go to the Divemaster Retirement Fund, minus what we keep for expenses,” she said. “We’re also asking for donations to help pay for the broken pool tiles.”

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Island Players To Stage Hollywood Classic

TORA_TORA_TORA

Due to an island-wide outbreak of iguana pox, the staff of the Blacktip Times was unable to cover this week’s breaking news stories (or stop scratching themselves . . . or keep food down). Below is a reprint of an earlier story, in anticipation of next month’s Blacktip Island Community Players summer musical production.
– The Blacktip Times editorial board
(photo courtesy of Cory W. Watts)

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform ‘Tora! Tora! Tora!’ December 6 – January 2 in their annual Fall Extravaganza. The production stars Payne Hanover as Adm. William ‘Bull’ Halsey, Lee Helm as Cmdr. Minoru Genada and Miss Marina DeLow as Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

“We are blessed by the quality and vibrancy of the amateur acting community on the island,” director Doris Blenny said. “This production truly showcases that talent.

“We are also appreciative of the efforts of island residents in collecting land crabs for use as Japanese attack squadrons. This production wouldn’t be possible without their help.”

As is de rigueur for the BICP, the production promises to be a visual spectacle.

“We’ve been practicing the big torpedo bombing scene for weeks now, and everyone’s pretty banged up,” Hanover said. “It’ll all be worthwhile when that curtain comes up, though, and we see those 15, 20 eager faces in the audience ducking for cover.”

Proceeds from the play will go to Habitat for Humanity of Blacktip Island.

Theatre-goers are reminded alcohol will not be served before the performance or during intermission in light of this summer’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ incident. Purses and backpacks will be searched at the door.

In related news, volunteers are needed the next two weekends to help with roofing, drywalling and repainting the playhouse.

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Blacktip Island Thespian Injured In Rehearsal Mishap

cthulu on the roof

Part of Antonio Fletcher’s costume for the upcoming Blacktip Island Community Players spring production. The costume was destroyed by medical professionals treating Fletcher’s injuries after Fletcher fell from the roof of his house. (photo courtesy of Eric Kilby)

Blacktip Island Community Players actor Antonio Fletcher is resting in stable condition Friday after falling from his roof while practicing for an upcoming BICP production.

“‘Tonio was balanced on the roof beam of his place, dressed in some kind of squid costume and singing about rising from the deep,” neighbor Hugh Calloway said. “We yelled for him to come down, and next thing we knew he lost his footing, slid down the metal sheeting and fell two stories.

“A clump of sea grapes broke his fall, but I think it was the booze that saved him,” Calloway said. “He was so lit on white rum he was pretty much limp when he hit the ground. That fall would’ve killed a sober person.”

Medical personnel were slowed in treating Fletcher due to his elaborate costume.

“Mr. Fletcher was wearing layers of blue and black taffeta, which had to be cut away before we could assess his injuries,” nurse Marissa Goby said. “And then there were the canned octopus tentacles sticking out his mouth and nostrils. We thought it was the remains of a recent mean, but apparently that was part of the costume.”

A BICP spokesperson confirmed Fletcher’s injuries were theater related.

“Our Easter production is a comic-horror musical titled ‘Cthulu on the Roof.’ Antonio was the lead,” said director Doris Blenny. “We had hoped to keep the costume a secret until Cthulu’s grand stage entrance in Act Three.

“Now that the costume has been cut to pieces, and so many have seen it, we’ll have to come up with a completely different costume to ensure proper dramatic effect,” Blenny said. “And a proper bass-baritone as well, should Antonio fail to fully recover.”

Local religious leaders say the incident was no accident.

“Hand of God is what it was, slapping ‘Tonio down for glorifying a pagan deity,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “Especially for an Easter performance. We’ll be picketing the play, and as much as legally possible, blocking access to the Heritage House during its performance.”

Grunt’s protest found unexpected allies among the island’s Cthulu adherents.

“The Lord of R’yleh is nothing to be joked about or mocked,” said longtime resident Kay Valve. “Say his name too often, or show disrespect, that’s just the sort of thing that’ll wake him.

“Antonio was lucky. We all were,” Valve said. “Call it divine providence if you want, but that fall may have saved us all from being eaten alive.”

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Blacktip Thespians To Perform Underwater ‘Day Of The Staghorn’

day of the staghorn

Detail of Lee Helm’s Staghorn King costume for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ underwater staging of the post-apocalyptic drama ‘The Day of the Staghorn.’ (photo courtesy of Onislandtimes)

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform the post-apocalyptic underwater drama, The Day of the Staghorn, off the Sand Spit Bar Saturday and Sunday to draw attention to the plight of the Caribbean island’s ailing coral reefs.

The play, written by Blacktip resident Payne Hanover, is based loosely on The Day of the Triffids, the 1951 novel and 1962 motion picture about intelligent, animate plants that take over the Earth.

“In this, it’s the coral that’s a threat to mankind, so it’s different,” Hanover said. “Dump runoff gives one coral species the ability to think and move. Then the coral attacks the people that threatened it.

“The story’s set underwater, after rising seas cover the island,” Hanover said. “Humans have to build an undersea haven, then protect it from the marauding coral. It’s actually turned out quite well, all things considered.”

The play will be performed underwater to highlight the island’s coral damage.

“It started with wondering what would happen if the reefs could fight back,” said director Doris Blenny. “For the audience to see how much damage there is to the actual coral, it really drives that point home.

“As for the staghorn suits, Elena Havens and the costumers put in long hours making them as realistic as possible, right down to the stinging cells,” Blenny said. “And we did vote down repeated suggestions to make it a musical. It was a close thing”

The scuba-certified cast includes:

  • Hugh Calloway as Bill Mason
  • Marina DeLow as Josella Playton
  • Finn Kiick as Wilfred Coker
  • Gauge Hoase as Michael Beadly
  • Jessie Catahoula as Miss Durant
  • Lee Helm as the Staghorn King

Though island environmentalists praised the play, resort owners are concerned about its impact on future business.

“All this touchy-feely talk about coral is fine,” Club Scuba Doo owner Ham Pilchard said. “But showing a damaged reef is going to scare off divers. The Caymans are gonna eat our lunch over this. And casting divers as the bad guys? There’s gonna be some ugly blowback on that.”

Producers, however, insist the play will do more good than harm.

“We expect it to draw additional divers to Blacktip rather than scare them away,” Blenny said. “We’re staging multiple showings, as the actors’ no-decompression limits allow, so as many people can see it as possible.

“The only negative so far has been Lee Helm developing an unnatural attachment to his Staghorn King costume,” Blenny said. “He kept sneaking around the island bars stinging people. It took three of us to hold him down and peel the suit off of him.”

All proceeds from the production will go to the Nature Conservancy’s Coral Reef Preservation Fund, Hanover said.

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