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Ragtag gang of misfits breathe life into 'Pirates'

A plethora of images come to mind when asked about pirates.  Whether you tend to lean towards Captain Hook or you’re more a Jack Sparrow thinker, there’s something distinctive about what each individual’s pirate persona might resemble.

Such is the case with the ragtag gang of misfits Halifax County Little Theatre has assembled to portray pirates in their upcoming production of “How I Became a Pirate,” based on the children’s book of the same name by Melinda Long.

Three of the actors breathing life into a pirate are Richard Reeves, Paul Streeter and Chris Long. All are excited about pounding the boards in their boots and beards and can’t wait to share this pirate story.     

Reeves, an actual former Navy man, has been in several Halifax County Little Theatre productions – including “Escanaba in Da’ Moonlight,” “Almost, Maine” and “Tom Sawyer” – but has been a pirate enthusiast since he was a child.

 “I have always had a huge interest in pirates – even before I became a sailor – ever since I first saw Captain Blood with Errol Flynn.  I even remember dressing up as a pirate in third grade for the school Halloween contest where I came in third place,” Reeves said.

In “How I Became a Pirate” Reeves is playing First Mate Seymour Braunschwagger.  He has put a lot of himself into the character of Seymour but doesn’t see that there are too many similarities.

Reeves said, “I am empathic to Seymour; as an ex-Navy man myself, I understand his predicament within the story.  While I do tend to put a lot of myself into the character, other than both spending time on the water, we’re not much alike.”In contrast to Reeves’ thorough knowledge and experience of all things maritime is stage newcomer Paul Streeter.  Streeter, who is acting for the first time in “How I Became a Pirate,” auditioned for the show after having taken an acting workshop.

 “I attended an acting workshop in November 2012, and I decided to audition for a local part to see if the workshop was worth the money I had spent.  I’ve always been into rap music and rapping, but wanted to try something new and challenge myself in another area of creativity,” Streeter said.   

Streeter continued, “My character, Bloody Sam, is a tough guy with a big appetite.  His overall objective throughout the play is to be recognized by the ship’s captain, but he really loves food, fighting and fishing.” 

Another pirate, Sharktooth, portrayed by Chris Long, is also a rough-around-the-edges swashbuckler.

Long said, “My character in the show is Sharktooth. He’s the scariest pirate on the ship with a slightly sensitive side.”

Long, who was also in Halifax County Little Theatre’s “Tom Sawyer,” tried out for the show because he wanted to try something new.

“I wanted a show that challenged me to act in a way that I haven’t had the chance to on stage.  In rehearsal, while we’ve had a lot of fun, we’ve also been given more freedom to take our character’s personality to another level.” 

Whether you’re a seasoned seaman or still green in the gills, one point all pirates can agree on is that “How I Became a Pirate” will have the audience rolling in the aisles.

Streeter said, “The community should come out to see this production because it will have everyone on the edge of their seats laughing.  It offers the public the exclusive opportunity to journey on an adventure without actually leaving town. It’s funny, exciting and enjoyable.” 

Show dates for this production are April 19, 20 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and April 21 at 3 p.m.  Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $7 for students.  Additionally, there is also a performance on Saturday, April 27, at 10 a.m., which will be followed by a lunch with the pirates upstairs in The Prizery’s banquet hall. Tickets for this event are $5. At the lunch, participants can have their pictures taken with the pirate cast while eating with them.