Morgan Misic stars as Jim Hawkins in a new stage version of the classic high seas adventure Treasure Island.

Cloverdale actor stars in swashbuckling adventure, Treasure Island

Morgan Misic stars in Exit 22's production of Bryony Lavery's Treasure Island, making its North American stage debut at CapU.

In acting terms, Morgan Misic is what you might call a quadruple threat. She can act, sing, dance, and she knows how to swashbuckle.

So when the script calls for all those considerable stage skills plus sword fighting (not to mention a certain finesse with a sea shanty), she’s your gal.

Which is why it makes perfect sense that the Cloverdale resident is currently starring in Capilano Theatre’s production of Treasure Island, a comedy running to Nov. 28 at the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts at Capilano University in North Vancouver.

“I’m really excited,” she told the Reporter just hours before the preview was set to take the stage. In doing so, the production made its North American stage debut.

Based on the classic tale by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson, this 2014 stage version by Bryony Lavery recasts the main characters as women, including the role Misic is playing, Jim Hawkins.

Its run at London’s National theatre wrapped in April. The Guardian called it “an imaginative adaptation which keeps alive the wit and excitement of the book.”

Wit, excitement, adventure, danger – these are all elements of a ripping good yarn, one that traditionally revolves around a male protagonist.

This rendering inverts the usual guy-centric formula, and puts gals at the centre of the action, offering a more contemporary take on a classic tale of high sease adventure.

The plot follows Jim Hawkins (“Jim” is short for Jemima), a young orphan living with her grandma. Together, they run an inn. One night, a pirate shows up on their doorstep, boasting that he’s a sea captain. Jim is entranced by the captain’s tales, and further hooked by the discovery of a treasure chest, and a map that promises to leads to a tantalizing reward.

They’re off on an adventure that soon brings Jim under the spell of Long John Silver, and a band of pirates.

Cue the action, complete with sword fighting and other exciting theatrical elements, from music and dancing to inventive staging.

“It’s very comedic,” she says. “There’s lots of laughs. There’s blood spurting, parrots flying around.”

Exit 22’s production is the second of two fall plays launched this fall by third year students in the acting for stage and screen program at Cap. The other was The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

When they were holding auditions for Treasure Island, Misic drew on her recently-acquired sword-fighting skills – honed last year at school thanks to a class on sword-fighting.

Surprisingly, for Misic the toughest part has been embodying a younger character.

“I’m 19 and Jim’s probably only about 12 or 13,” she says, “so it’s trying to revert back to that innocent state.”

The character initially loses herself as she gets wrapped up in the adventure and goes along with the pirates, only to remember who she is in the end.

She caught the acting bug in Grade 5, when a movie set during the holidays was filmed in Cloverdale – Deck the Halls (2006), starring Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito as rival neighbours who go to outrageous lengths to outdo one another in the Christmas home decoration department.

The crew scoured the downtown for extras, and her mom, Paige, brought the idea home to Misic and her brother.

Before long, the whole family was acting as extras, with the two siblings returning to the shoot for more scenes.

“That’s where I just fell in love with the camera,” she says.

The movie previewed at The Clova. These days, you can still catch her and the rest of the family in the background of scenes.

She and her brother were extras in Fantastic Four, and Case 39 with Jody Foster, before Misic re-focused on school, only picking up acting again as a Grade 10 French Immersion student at Panorama Ridge, playing Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Alice in Alice in Wonderland.

Treasure Island continues Nov. 25 to 28 at the BlueShore Financial Centre for Performing Arts at Capilano University. Showtime is 8 p.m. There’s also a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, Nov. 28.

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