Christopher Wooley loves pirates. He loves them so much that he got a pirate girl tattooed on his forearm. And that was before he learned that he’d be directing the Spokane Civic Theatre’s staging of Treasure Island.
“I got that tattoo about six months before I found out I was going to be directing, but now I gave her a Treasure Island map,” says Wooley.
Perhaps that made Wooley, just 27, a perfect candidate to take the helm of the Civic’s production of Ken Ludwig’s adaptation of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel. The play, which opens on Friday, April 5, features a cast of just 16 to man the performance’s many parts with some actors playing as many as five different roles.
Wooley has worked as the Civic’s sound engineer for the past three years and made his directorial debut with last year’s Catfish Moon on the Civic’s Studio Theater stage. Along with the help of set designer David Baker, Wooley presents a high-action version of Treasure Island replete with a multi-level, rotating set that plays host to sword fighting, gunplay, a mechanical parrot and a Long John Silver with a convincing peg leg.
“I don’t think a set like this has been done in Spokane,” says Wooley.
Much of the cast has spent the weeks building up to opening night honing their stage combat skills with the help of Bryan Durbin, who made sure the play’s action lived up to what we’ve come to expect out of Treasure Island.
“And yes, we are using real swords on stage,” assures Wooley.
Treasure Island • April 5-21: Thu-Sat at 7:30 pm; Sun at 2 pm • $18-$24 • Spokane Civic Theatre • 1020 N. Howard St. • spokanecivictheatre.com