Chesser found himself captivated by "Treasure Island" when he was just a kid himself and figured it would be a good show to adapt for Steamer No. 10's Kids' Fare series. So, he sat down with the book and a highlighter, noting everything that he felt he had to be sure to include in the show.
Then, just to make sure he hadn't overlooked any critical parts, he leafed through the Cliffs Notes for "Treasure Island."
The finished product is certainly a condensed product -- while the book features three or four chapters where Jim is crossing an island on his trip, "I managed to knock that down to 45 words," Chesser said -- but he's confident that his version stayed true to the story.
"If you'd read the book, you'd recognize the show," he said.
Harder to recognize might be Kapusta Skiff, who plays not only Jim but also an old, "really mean and nasty pirate."
In one scene, she plays Jim, runs off stage and returns almost immediately as the pirate, which requires quite a vocal range, especially considering the pirate is "really raspy-voiced," she said.
Rice juggles multiple roles, too. He's Dr. Livesey and an assortment of pirates.
This is Rice's second show with Steamer No. 10. In December, he appeared in "Waiting for Sinterklaas: The Search For Santa Claus," after taking a two-year hiatus from acting while teaching English in Japan.
"I didn't get to act at all over there," Rice said.
That was tough because Rice, a 2002 Shaker High graduate, fell in love with acting years ago, appearing in plays and musicals throughout high school and college.
"I really like being able to dig into the characters," he said.
He also likes being able to personalize the parts he plays. Unlike Chesser, Rice wasn't too familiar with the story of "Treasure Island." He's been reading the book, but he's made a point not to watch any film adaptations because "I want to have my own take on the characters."
"Treasure Island" also stars Rebecca Boswell as Billy Bones, Squire Trelawney and Long John Silver. It will be staged at the Steamer No. 10 Theater, 500 Western Ave. in Albany, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24, and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. On Saturday, Jan. 31, the show travels to Saratoga Springs for a performance at the Arts Center, 320 Broadway. For information, call 438-5503 or visit www.steamer10theatre.org.