Director leads band of pirates as they commandeer theater

Ahoy matey! A band of pirates are setting sail for Moorhead this November as the MSUM Theatre department prepares the next show of their season, “Swashbuckled! A Pirate Adventure!”

Written and directed by theatre department chair, Craig Ellingson, this fall’s children’s show promises an imaginative story of adventure, with a relatable story of technological dependency.

This will be the third children’s show Ellingson has written for the department, but he is not the first faculty member to write a show for the program.

“The children’s show historically has been a opportunity for faculty members to be authors and playwrights if they so choose,” Ellingson said. “David Wheeler, who is the senior faculty member, has written, I would say, close to a dozen plays for the children’s theatre.”

Ellingson’s production is not only his work however. During spring semester last year he worked with two students, Matthew Englund and Ryan Soukup, to come up with the piece.

“We had a little one credit course, and we met once a week and hashed through ideas and plots scenieros etcetera,” Ellingson said. “By the end of the academic year, in May, we had a read-through of a tentative script that we tweaked over the summer, and it is now ‘Swashbuckled! A Pirate Adventure.’” The two MSUM alumni are promised to be involved in the process of the show in some way.

With production of “The Laramie Project” ending this past weekend, rehearsals for “Swashbuckled!” are not yet in full swing, but the show has already been cast, and the actors are excited to get started.

“A lot of people auditioned,” theatre arts junior Wyatt Sander said.

While a large amount of people auditioned, there are only 10 cast members in the show.

“We double casted the show though,” Sander said. “Since it is a children’s show we are going to be doing it during school hours. So we casted a double show, so no one would have to miss that much school.”

Sander is excited about his role as Blackheart the pirate king.

“I get tossed off my ship at the beginning of the show,” Sander said with a laugh. “The two pirates, with the help of the kid, come to my rescue.”

Both Ellingson and Sander agree that this show is a great opportunity for families with small children, but also MSUM students to see.

“It has pirates in it,” Sander said. “It’s a kids show, but it’s not mindnumbing. When I read through it, I immediately loved it.”

The public performance of the show will be on Nov. 23 and is a free-will donation.

“Students are always welcome,” Ellingson said. “MSUM students get into all theatre productions for free.”

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