This week’s guest blog post kicks off our week with the latest review of Treasure Island at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. Inspiring dad, Jovi, captivates us with his bonding experience with daughter, Ellis, as the two of them hit the theater. You can’t help noticing how amazing it is to see the wonder in your child’s eyes when they experience things for the very first time…
The day started out pretty much the same as any weekday except that it went by so fast for my daughter Ellis. I was excited but I could only imagine how she felt. She’s 6 years old (going on 16) and she confessed beforehand that she doesn’t care much about pirates as Captain Hook scared her during her first viewing of Peter Pan when she was only three. But she has a thing for hidden treasures … and that thought alone had her sail through the day without a problem from sun up to sun down.
Getting to the show was easy. It is being held at The Irondale Center for Theater, Education, and Outreach which is a unique space and the first of its kind to open in the new BAM Cultural District. It was once Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church’s Sunday school room and according to their website it is a 7,300 square-foot center for creating and presenting inventive theater, as well as for using theater to educate children. As we pass through the ticket counter she said “Dad, look down! It’s a trail… c’mon let’s go!” The floors were marked and obviously lead to the stage but I saw the twinkle in her eyes and I knew she was now in her own world filled with clues and puzzles and the promise of a good show about to begin. With 28-foot high ceilings, a 1,900-square-foot mezzanine/gallery, gothic-style wall paintings and stained glass windows, you can imagine my mental oohs and aahs that such a space existed to bring theater to my child.
The whole place was decked out with a maritime feel that a good sailor would feel comfortable in. There were several old ropes hanging down from the ceiling, rowboats, paddles & vast colorful canvas fabrics around the stage. There’s even a 15-foot tall mast and I wondered how they got that in there. To me it looked solid enough that not even a handful of sailors can knock down.
The Adventure began when the lights dimmed and the magic of sounds and effects took us to an oceanic experience while holding on to our seats. The story of Treasure Island was based on the popular novel by Robert Louis Stevenson of the same title and adapted for the stage by Vernon Morris and Tony Award Winner B.H. Barry. The show has 13 actors and an actual real parrot and to put it simply it narrates a tale of “pirates and buried gold”. Ellis’s ears were burning with excitement when I told her what little I know of the story centering on the courage and bravery of a young boy Jim Hawkins.
It sounds like a simplistic plot but it’s anything but. As the show is a rollicking fun ride and detailed a spectacular adventure. The characters were amazingly good and gave the audience a glimpse of being a “real pirate”. Ellis did not dare close her eyes even though it was way past her bedtime. Though the chocolate bar we got during intermission may have helped a little. I think there were at least five fight scenes involving swordplay and even gun fights. I did wish I brought my 3-year-old son with us, as he would have loved the fight scenes. The show went on for 2-½ hrs a bit lengthy for some children but I saw some young kids in the crowd that night and they didn’t look bored at all. It was just that engrossing! The biggest factor of all was that the audience seats were close to the stage and the performers delivered lines so naturally and stayed so true to their characters. My daughter jumped and squealed more than once during the show. The whole feel of the night felt like we were spying on pirates in an island somewhere far far away from Brooklyn. It was a memorable night that was followed by much curiosity about the book and asking for even more adventure themed plays days after. It stimulated her imagination and fueled her love for learning new things. So if you or your kids want to escape the noise and feel of metropolitan New York and feel daring enough to go on a swashbuckling adventure, Treasure Island at the Irondale Center is only a boat- err- train ride away.