Arts and Entertainment

Readers Theatre presents a Titanic world premiere

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Sequim Gazette staff

Readers Theatre Plus presents the world premiere stage production of “The Last Lifeboat,” by acclaimed screenwriter and playwright Luke Yankee, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

 

Three free productions run Friday-Sunday, April 27-29, at the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road, Sequim. The Friday show begins at 7:30 p.m. and the Saturday and Sunday shows at 3 p.m.

 

Yankee wrote “The Last Lifeboat” in three formats — as a movie script, a fully staged play and as a reading in a readers’ theater setting. He gave Readers Theatre Plus special permission to present the play, which is the first staging anywhere.

 

The story was written in the past year as a commemorative piece of the Titanic as experienced by Mr. J. Bruce Ismay, managing director of the White Star Line, which owned and operated the supposedly unsinkable ship.

 

On the night of the disaster, Ismay clambered aboard the last lifeboat and survived the sinking, for which he came under severe and lasting criticism for the rest of his life.

 

Jim Dries, co-founder of Readers Theatre Plus, directs the production with help from Carol King and Mary Griffith. Dries said he and Yankee are friends and that’s how the premiere came about.

 

“I don’t know if we have ever had a premiere of something like this before,” Dries said.

 

He said Yankee’s play is a very different take on the Titanic that analyzes the impact of the tragedy on Ismay and the investigation into the ship’s sinking.

 

“There’s a lot of suggestion in the play,” Dries said. “It’s an interesting, original take on a 100-year-old event and the whole story is still not out.”

 

The production includes more than 30 people, the largest ever for the troupe, with seasoned and new actors.

 

Free tickets for “The Last Lifeboat” are available at Pacific Mist Books in Sequim and Odyssey Books in Port Angeles.

 

Organizers encourage those attending to pick up tickets in advance and arrive at least 15 minutes before show time to guarantee their seats. Seating for those without tickets at the door is provided as space is available.

 

 

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