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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC’s ‘Treasure Island’ production sets sail with sensational adventure

The Channels Arts Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW
Ben Crop
Shannon Saleh, Emiliana Jasper, Brian Harwell and Nestor Manzanares in The Theatre Group at SBCC’s production of TREASURE ISLAND by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Bryony Lavery, directed by Michael Bernard, February 28-March 16, 2024, Garvin Theatre. 805-965-5935 or for tickets.

Walking through the doors of the Garvin Theatre, I could hear the sea shanties playing softly through the hidden speakers of the theater. They were low, almost too low to understand what was playing, but the large screen with a soft projection of a pirate flag confirmed my suspicions. 

When I first heard about Garvin’s new production, I did not know what to expect. The charming romance tale “Emma,” their fall 2023 production, was a difficult show to top. 

“Treasure Island,” however, despite having no romance plots and definitely not an adorable love story, captures its audience’s attention, while the performers bring us along in a thrilling adventure filled with “murder, money and mutiny.” 

The show premiered at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 in the Garvin Theatre at City College for all students and family members. The story is based on the adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by Bryony Lavery, but directed by City College’s Michael Bernard. 

The set design, which included a screen that displayed several different locations and settings, was the first element to catch my eye. A huge contraption in the middle of the stage was made to resemble the inside of an inn, complete with a sign, a door, and stairs leading up to higher levels that played as the individual rooms. Even more impressive was the highest level, where the audience could catch the smallest glimpse of a pirate ship wheel and a railing, leaving the audience to anticipate how the wheel would play into the storyline. 

As the show progressed, the whole stage transformed, going from an old inn with tables and a fireplace to a pirate ship with sails and ropes, complete with a galley and a captain’s quarters. 

The actors displayed impressive agility as they climbed up and down while staying in character. Our main “lass”, Jim Hawkins, was the best and most energetic character yet. 

Played by the talented Emiliana Jasper, she was the first one to appear on stage, staring into the dark space where the audience watched, narrating her story as it began. 

Jasper played a brilliant, “smart as paint,” teenager, who was eager to become something more than her life as the granddaughter of an innkeeper, Grandma Hawkins, played by Jenna Scanlon. Jasper does an amazing job at catching the audience’s heart as she embarks on a quest with Long John Silver, played by Brian Harwell. 

The two actors had the strongest connection in the play, most of the time sharing the stage as they go from strangers to close friends to enemies. Their story comes to a close during the thrilling fight sequence at the end of the treasure hunt. 

City College’s “Treasure Island” will continue to play at the Garvin Theatre from Feb. 28 to March 16. Showing times vary, from Thursdays to Saturdays starting at 7:30 p.m., with previews on Feb. 28 and 29, and on Sundays at 2 p.m. The performance on Sunday, March 3 will be captioned for the hearing impaired. Prices also vary, from $18 for general admission, $15 for seniors and City College staff, and $10 for students. More information on pricing and the play can be found on The Theatre Group’s website.

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