Moments to treasure at Steamer No. 10 Theater

A guy just wasn't going to work, Ric Chesser thought.

He was casting for Steamer 10's production of Treasure Island, and he needed someone to play the main character, 12-year-old Jim Hawkins. Having one of the men in the company fill the role would be a tough sell, what with their facial hair and physiques, Chesser said.

Now, a woman, on the other hand ... clothes could hide her figure, and her hair could be fashioned into a ponytail like men wore in Colonial times. That was perfect, since "Treasure Island" is set in 18th century England.

And so, Agnes Kapusta Skiff landed the role of Jim in "Treasure Island," which will be staged at Steamer No. 10 in Albany on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 24 and 25, and at The Arts Center in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Jan. 31.

"I thought she was the one who could pull it off best," Chesser said.

"At first, you say, 'Oh my, I have to play a 12-year-old boy," said Kapusta Skiff. "But I think it's really fun."

The word "fun" came up often as Kapusta Skiff, castmate Robert Rice and Chesser talked about the play. "Treasure Island" is Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of a boy (Jim) who finds a treasure map and journeys halfway around the world in search of riches. Along the way, he matches wits with an assortment of pirates, including Long John Silver.

"It's a great play because it has the adventure aspect," Kapusta Skiff said. "It will keep the audience guessing."

That's true whether the people watching the play are young or old, Chesser said. This is the third time Steamer No. 10 has put on "Treasure Island," and it generally appeals to just about everyone, except maybe the teenage crowd.

"Kids loves it because it's just scary enough to give a real thrill," Chesser said. "It's told from the point of view of the boy, so you know that he survives -- you have that. It's also kind of a mystery. The audience figures out what's going on at the last minutes. The kids are having a great time, and the parents are there totally engrossed."

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