Oberlin Blogs

With the Pirates, Day Six

January 16, 2009

Ma'ayan Plaut ’10

Today marked an important day for the Oberlin interns at the Story Pirates: Today was our first show.

Every Saturday, the Striking Viking Story Pirates present a complete show of children's stories for the public. New stories are featured every week, along with classic stories from all over the United States. Any writer (and their family!) who attends the show gets in for free and is treated like a celebrity.

Usually, the weekly shows happen in the basement theater of The Drama Bookshop, where the Story Pirates headquarters is located. But today was a very special day... today the show was being held at Comix on 14th Street. Comix is a well-known New York comedy club, overflowing with people late into the night at the bar and watching various sketch, improv, and musical acts. They graciously opened their doors for us today for a 2pm show. It was amusing to see little kids watching puppet shows and listening to songs about the embarrassment of wetting the bed... in one of the most famous nightclubs in Manhattan.

A show away from the home base means that the actors, producers, musicians, and, for the month of January, interns, must carry all the necessary sets, props, sound effects, costumes, and other theatrical necessities to the location. Around 11am, Abbe, a fellow Oberlin intern, and I combined our muscular effort with Jono and Joanna to carry six suitcases of costumes and props, as well as a dolly with four boxes of sound effects and posters, to Comix.

The adventures started after we managed to make it down the subway steps with our arms full. We reached the subway platform as an E train pulled in. Jono attempts to board the train with the dolly, but one of the boxes of sound effects and instruments slides off the dolly and spills, with musical paraphernalia straddling that dangerous gap between the platform and train, where many a hat and various litter has disappeared forever into the tracks.

Out of nowhere, three kids materialized, little hands flurrying to help us gather every last cymbal, woodblock, and cowbell from the platform as a woman assured us that another train would come very soon and to not worry. The E train pulled away, and we looked down into the tracks, crossing our fingers that we hadn't lost anything. We hadn't, and turned back to thank the kids who had helped us, but both they and the woman had disappeared. Wherever you are, subway angels, you saved the day. Thank you.

We made it onto an A train, rode to 14th Street, and then walked a block to Comix, where we began setting up for the show. I helped unpack an entire suitcase of wigs and a fabulous collection of props that interns Kat and Abbe had created since Tuesday's rehearsal. A brief dress rehearsal with music and sound cues began, and I wandered around figuring out good camera angles for the performance.

Around 1.40pm, the doors opened, and children of all ages with their families started streaming into the nightclub. In the audience today, there were a number of young writers who were being honored and their story performed. The actors milled around the audience, congratulating and interviewing students, occasionally bringing them on stage for a red-carpet photoshoot.

At 2.15pm, the lights went down and the excitement went up. All the writers were introduced, taking bows to waves of applause. The Story Pirates theme song was performed, and the show was on!

Today's show included classics like The Day I Got My Head Stuck in a Bar Stool and Giant Bugs 2, as well as some new stories written by audience members (Bear in mind that the videos are only a representation; like most live theater, the skits change every time). Today's collection included Aliens Can't Be Cheerleaders, a story about a cool kid who kept on falling in love with cheerleaders, who turned out to be aliens that wanted to eat his plasma, The Big Wind, a group story written by a class about twins who are swept to sea with an iceberg, rescued by a lemon and a mouse, and then swept out to sea again by a big wind, and a short film by the divas I photographed last week, The Pirate Girls, a mischievous duo whose puppy becomes a pirate to save them from being kidnapped.

A new and original story was created near the end of the show, with Nick taking audience suggestions and the actors improvising a short sketch to go along with the fresh and new ideas. Today's was about a blue flower face whose stem gets broken by her friend Rose giving her too many books to read, but is saved by a raincloud and the sun.

With every show's end, the writers present are brought onto the stage for a brief interview, and then are presented with a certificate of creativity and awesomeness, as well as photo key chains and a framed version of their story. Before leaving, they autograph the photos taken earlier in the day.

And who can forget the ice cream? Each Saturday performance concludes with ice cream!

Interested in seeing a show? Comment and I can get you a discounted ticket at any time!

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