A comedy about duty and love

'Pirates of Penzance' is an opera about one young pirate apprentice and the decisions he must make

When:

7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Washburn Performing Arts Center,

1201 39th St. , Washougal

Tickets:

$8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Call 954-3107 for more information.

When:

7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Washburn Performing Arts Center,

1201 39th St. , Washougal

Tickets:

$8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. Call 954-3107 for more information.

Frederic, a pirate apprentice, has fallen in love with sweet, innocent Mabel, the first woman he has ever seen. Yet his vocation is a major roadblock to their future together.

And thus begins the adventures of the “Pirates of Penzance,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta, which drama students at Washougal High School will be performing for their fall theater production.

“Pirates of Penzance” was selected by WHS drama teacher Kelly Gregersen, in conjunction with choir teacher Jennifer Mahorney and band teacher Kelly Ritter.

“It has one of the most famous musical pieces out there,” Gregersen said. “This has definitely taken the kids out of their comfort zone, and given them some opera skills.”

Gregersen added that he has enjoyed the challenge of directing the show for the first time.

“I’ve fallen in love with it,” he said. “I’m amazed how much fun and how funny this one is. We are really milling every joke we can get out of it.”

“Pirates of Penzance,” shows what happens when the young Frederic must choose between his duties as a pirate and his love for Mabel, the daughter of the wealthy Major General Stanley.

The pirates themselves have difficulty profiting from their chosen trade, as they refuse to capture any ship with orphans. Apparently word has gotten around, and everyone they capture claims to be one.

When the pirates see Mabel and the other general’s daughters, they claim them as wives. But the general lies and says the pirates cannot take them because they are orphans.

Meanwhile, Frederic discovers that he is actually bound to his apprenticeship far longer than he intended, and with this knowledge he feels duty-bound to leave Mabel and inform the pirates that the general lied about being an orphan. After the Pirate King learns of this, he vows to raid the general’s estate, and thus begins the comedic mayhem.

“The neat thing about this is that it’s a great family piece, one where grandparents know the music and kids will love the pirates,” Gregersen said. “And we have a pirate ship.”

Bret Wade plays the role of Frederic.

“He is a very dutiful person,” Wade said. “He can’t do anything which he feels is against his duty. It’s been a challenge to portray someone who is so honest. It’s kind of hard to do, but I like it.”

Wade, a freshman, was shocked to earn a lead role in his first high school production.

“I almost fainted when I found out,” he said. “I was nervous at first, but I pulled through so now I am not so nervous.”

Junior James Maguire plays the role of the Pirate King.

“My character is very much a ‘larger than life’ type,” he said. “He is extremely full of himself and is completely over the top.”

He added that the Pirate King is a fun character to portray.

“It’s just so ridiculous there is no way you can’t have fun with it,” Maguire said. “I get to run around the stage and do ridiculous stuff. I get to be the center of everything.”

Senior Kelley Young plays the role of Mabel.

“She is the leader of all the sisters and is sweet and innocent,” Young said. “At the same time, she is very worldly and takes Frederic for who he is, not what he is. She is a sweet, headstrong girl.”

Young enjoys portraying Mabel and her interactions with Frederic.

“She can be all in your face but all heartbroken because Frederic is leaving her to go back to the pirates,” she said. “It’s been fun to do and I love it.”

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