By John Hogan
The story of the most infamous shipwreck in history will be retold Nov. 15-17 in “A Ship of Dreams,’’ an original play about the RMS Titanic’s doomed maiden voyage 100 years ago.
It is the first play presented under the newly-formed Rogue River Community Theatre Company and includes more than 40 performers.
“No other ship in the history of ocean travel has demanded as much interest as the Titanic,’’ said Director of Theatre Patricia Rose, who wrote the play. “This is the 100th commemorative year of the sinking of that great ship.’’
Deemed “unsinkable,’’ RMS Titanic left Southampton, England April 10, 1912 on its maiden voyage to New York. Sailing near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, the massive vessel struck an iceberg and sank into the frigid north Atlantic early the morning of April 15, 1912. Of the 2,228 crew and passengers on board, only 705 survived.
“The play is pretty intense,’’ said Randy Galaszewski, a veteran stage and screen actor who portrays Capt. Edward J. Smith. “My favorite line comes from the first scene when the captain says: ‘I assure you, this ship is sound. There is no way the Titanic will founder.’ History, of course, proves otherwise.’’
A Ship of Dreams tells the stories of its eclectic mix of passengers -from the rich
and famous to poor immigrants searching for a better life. Actors ranging in age from 6 to 60 convey stories of courage, cowardice and compassion.
Filling the stage at Kent Theater will be a 12-foot long by four-foot wide replica of the Titanic deck, complete with period-appropriate furnishings and equipment. Several hundred feet of PVC pipe donated by Rockford Ace Hardware was used to construct ship railings.
Theatre board members Brian Thomas and PJ Bevelacqua spent countless hours building the set, which will be transported to the Cedar Springs theater on a flatbed trailer.The platform rises to give the visual effect of a sinking ship, Thomas said.
“Having the set rise five feet off the stage floor during the last portion of the play has a powerful visual impact,’’ Thomas said. “It helps set the mood for the horrific final moments aboard RMS Titanic.’’’
Performances are being dedicated to the more than 8,300 seamen and officers of the U.S. Merchant Marines who died or went missing during World War II. The two-act play includes violinist Nicole Hodges and a solo by accomplished tenor Michael Baribeau, who portrays Thomas Andrews in the story.
Shows are 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 and 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16. On Saturday, Nov. 17, there will be a 2 p.m. matinee and the final show at 8 p.m.
Kent Theater, 8 N. Main Street, is located a few blocks north of 17 Mile Road NE (Muskegon Street) on the east side of North Main Street in downtown Cedar Springs. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $4 for students.
For information, call (616) 874-5264.