Mississippians can grab a tankard and set sail for fun as the Poplarville Academy of Performing Arts (P.A.P.A.) hosts “Pirating 101,” an audience-participation musical docking for a limited engagement at the Dixon Theater in downtown Poplarville. The original play by director Doug Rowell introduces a motley ship’s crew getting ready for a new class of pirate recruits at Pirate University.
Rated ARRRGH for innuendo and bawdy jokes, the show is offered as dinner theater for the 18-and-over crowd. While the jokes were often suggestive and tinged a little blue, nothing in the evening came across as offensive, only as funny. Rowell uses a little satire, a little tribute and a lot of wit in his script and the players delivered it well.
Led by Captain Three Leg (played by Rowell), the crew consisted of quartermaster Scully (Daniel Soley); Cookie, the ship’s doctor (Logan Aube); Doc, the ship’s cook (Jack Byrd); cabin boy Squiggly (Kyle Ford); ship’s wenches Nautical Nora (Rochelle Holliday) and Maritime Madeline (Kendra Bersche), and ship’s musician Short String (Matt Keenan). The audience formed the class of potential pirate recruits.
Over the course of the show, the audience learned many things about pirates. For example, there’s no calling “dibs” in pirating because pirates operate in a true democracy. Observers can discern the relative rank of pirates by the quality of their attire: better dressed equates to higher rank. Pirates disagree over their favorite pastime: is it rum and booty or sea chanties?
The wenches stole their own shares of the spotlight with raucous songs and come-hither costumes. One song dealt with a missing pet chicken, Dick the cockerel. Others related to beer and men, with an especially jovial number about men in kilts.
The Dixon Theater contains a small stage, augmented for the play with the addition of a “pier” on the front. Yet the single set conveyed the feeling of a ship’s deck, complete with a skeleton suspended in a hammock and casks (of the coveted rum?) lining the sides.
Opening night (Thursday, January 15, 2015) brought an audience caught up in a pirate adventure. Additional performances are scheduled for January 16th and 17th as well as 23rd and 24th. Tickets for the 7 p.m. shows are available online at papa.ticketleap.com. Dinner for the performance catered by Stonewall’s of Poplarville.
The Dixon Theater
502 South Main Street
Poplarville, MS 39470