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Sail dangerous waters with 'Treasure Island'

By: Eileen Wilson Telegraph Correspondent
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Isn’t it every young child’s dream — to find a hidden treasure map and set out on an epic adventure? When it comes to storytelling, no one does it better than Robert Louis Stevenson. Serialized in a children’s magazine and later published as a novel in 1883, “Treasure Island” still holds readers, both young and old, in its suspenseful, breathtaking grip. T.H.E. Actors Workshop and Integral Theatre Company’s director, Deanne Eldridge, knows a superb piece of literature when she sees it. “Treasure Island is a well-written novel with great characters. I wanted to pay homage to Stevenson’s work,” Eldridge said. While the novel shines, many theater adaptations of the work do not, Eldridge explained. Although she read many scripts based on the novel, none of them would do. “Every story I find, if it’s written about a child, the script is dumbed down; the plot oversimplified. The versions I found portrayed simple caricatures of the main characters,” Eldridge said. So she decided to adapt the book into play format on her own — a task that she never shies away from. While audiences may think of “Treasure Island” as a children’s story, it’s really a coming-of-age story that will appeal to audiences of all ages. “Too often people think if a story is about a child, then it’s a children’s story or play,” Eldridge said. “Jim Hawkins (the show’s main character) places his trust in a complicated man, and he is forced to grow up very quickly.” Performer, Don Noxon, who portrays the character Doctor Livesey, agrees. “Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins are learning to trust each other — the real story is the naivete’ of a boy who loses his father, and ultimately becomes a hero; a story about how he learns and grows.” Noxon, who is from a self-proclaimed, performing and musical family, can speak of the character, Jim, learning and growing first hand. Noxon’s son, Dakota Noxon, portrays Jim, a role that the elder Noxon relishes seeing his son in. “This is the first time I’ve played opposite my son in a scene,” Noxon said. “I play one of the father-figures in the show, which is really interesting.” The cast is excited for opening night; an evening that will culminate in a “champagne and cake reception”, which will substitute sparkling cider for champagne. Noxon and his children have performed with numerous theater companies throughout the region, as well as with church events and a variety of musical productions, but both father and son are relishing their roles in “Treasure Island.” “This is a great cast, and we’re having a lot of fun,” Don Noxon said. * * * ‘Treasure Island’ Who: T.H.E. Actors Workshop and Integral Theatre Company When: Opens 8 p.m. Thursday, July 14, and continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays 4 p.m. through Aug. 7 Where: 800 Reading St., Folsom Cost: $14 general, $12 seniors, students and military, $7 children 12 and under Info: Actorsworkshop.net