Children’s Theatre sets sail with ‘Lady Pirates of the Caribbean’

Parrot Isle Governor Don Juan Futon (Nikolas Mandalas) engages in a sword battle with pirate Lucky Lu (Lillian Mandalas) in a scene from the Children’s Theatre production of “Lady Pirates of the Caribbean.” (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Follow the cast of the Children’s Theatre on their quest for stolen treasure in this weekend’s show, “Lady Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The play, which includes cases of mistaken identity, deception and of course drama on the high seas, is directed by Martia McGinnis in her first time at the helm. She originally got involved in the Children’s Theatre about 10 years ago.

“My sister was involved and asked me to help out with props and since then I’ve been involved in one way or another every year,” she said. “From costumes to sets, to assistant directing, I’ve done a lot with the Children’s Theatre and it’s exciting to direct this show.”

Lucretia (Kaitlyn Clendaniel), right, threatens YoHo Hokum, the incompetent pirate (Joy Phillips). Performances take place Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Wesley College’s Wells Theatre. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

In the play, a chest of gold doubloons sent by the queen to care for orphaned children has been stolen by pirates. The orphanage seeks help from Esmeralda, once an orphan herself. Little do they know that she is now the notorious pirate Lucky Lu, leader of the Lawless Ladies.

Still, Esmeralda promises to recover the gold so the Lawless Ladies head to Parrot Isle disguised as a shipwrecked theatrical troupe.

They are welcomed by Governor Don Juan Futon and his wary niece Lucretia, who accuses them of being spies, though she has no proof. Esmeralda and her Lawless Ladies are condemned to walk the plank.

Although managing a cast of 33 young people can be a challenge at times, Ms. McGinnis has 18-year-old Anthony Quinene, the show’s student director, to help her out.

“Ms. Martia handles all the big things and I can focus on helping the younger kids perform their character to the best of their potential,” Anthony said.

This is his final show with the Children’s Theater — a bonus for him since he planned on the previous musical, “Annie” being his last.

“They asked me if I wanted to be the student director for this show and I couldn’t say no,” he said. “I love the Children’s Theatre and I want to keep acting and directing and I feel like doing this is good experience and will definitely help me out if I decided to do community theater or something like that in the future.”

Captives being held by the pirates are played by, from left, Samantha Barish, Paul Edelman, Maria Hammond and Joy Phillips.

“Anthony has been awesome because he wants to make us better actors,” said Jordan Brisbane-Tate, 11, playing the pirate Ray.

“I’m still kind of new so I’m meeting people here still and almost every play I have more lines than the one before. So it’s great to have Anthony around because he gives you confidence and helps you with your lines and he wants to see us do our best.”

Mother Superior (Rachel Hammond) writes a letter asking the pirates to return the stolen gold so the orphanage can feed the poor children.

The performance’s main allure for the cast and crew was the pirate theme.

“I love pirates so when it was brought up that this show was a possibility for this year, I knew I wanted to direct it,” Ms. McGinnis said. “And a lot of kids auditioned for this one and we had to make some hard decisions but I think this cast is doing an amazing job.”

A lot of the fun for the actors comes from the costumes that were assembled by the Children’s Theatre dedicated parents and crew members.

“I love my costume and I think everyone’s goes perfectly with their character,” said Alexia Nadel, 11, portraying the role of pirate Rosalita.

“Everyone’s always hard at work, going back and forth from the store or from our costume supply to rehearsal to get everything perfect and they have gotten everything just right. It’s the best organized chaos you’ve ever seen.”

Lucretia (Kaitlyn Clendaniel) in a scene with Snake Fang Fidoodle the imposter Don Juan Futon (Nikolas Mandalas).

Seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn Clendaniel is performing with the Children’s Theatre for the last time. She plays Lucretia, one of the main characters who, unlike the majority of the pirate cast, gets to dress and act very prim and proper.

“Lucretia is the governor’s niece and she’s a very evil character, which I really like,” she said. “I’ve never played someone like her. I’m usually a responsible, serious character like a mom or mother figure.”

Puiyee Kong, 13, enjoys having a new, unfamiliar role, playing Nebula, a mysterious witchy woman.

“It’s so much fun because I’m normally a sweet character and in this I get to be kind of creepy and mean at times,” she said. “It was a little out of my comfort zone at first, but now I really like it.”

Better than the acting, the actors agreed that friendship is one of the best things to come out of being a member of the Children’s Theatre.

Lillian Mandalas, 13, who plays Esmeralda/Lucky Lu, said that at school she’s typically shy and quiet but when she comes to rehearsal she gets to open up to all kinds of new friends.

“It’s amazing how close you get from acting here. We see each other a few times a week and we all like acting so there’s an instant bond and it’s so easy to be friends with one another and we just have a great time,” she said.

Alexia said working with different casts at the Children’s Theater feels very welcoming.

One Eyed Guard is portrayed by Nate Barish. Tickets are $10 at the door.

“You get here for the first rehearsal and not know some people and within a week or two, they’re more than friends. They’re basically your family.”

Ms. McGinnis said there’s nothing like seeing the group of kids from the first day of rehearsal transform over the course of several weeks.

“They’ve definitely been hard at work, as has the whole crew, but everyone’s been having fun the whole time and you can tell that when they perform, everything will have come together to make a great production.”

“Lady Pirates” will take the stage at Wesley College’s Wells Auditorium Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

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