“Your son hasn’t read ‘Treasure Island’?” said the legendary Henry Fonda in disbelief in the classic 1981 movie “On Golden Pond.”

“Treasure Island” has been seen as the perfect novel “for boys” ever since it was first published as a serial novel between 1881 and 1882 in the magazine Young Folks. In fact, the original title of the work was “The Sea Cook: A Story for Boys.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of “Treasure Island,” said himself, “It was to be a story for boys … women were excluded.”

Playwright Bryony Lavery, however, had a different view on the matter in her retelling of “Treasure Island” as a stage play performed by the U.K. National Theatre Company, which was broadcasted at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Thursday.“‘Treasure Island’ is about a brave young person being set about by evil adults,” said Lavery. “I don’t think it matters much if it’s a boy or a girl.”

Many of the characters from the original novel were boldly reimagined as females in this modern adaptation.

Jim Hawkins, a young girl who takes offense when people call her the cabin boy, is the main character. Other gender bended characters include females Dr. Livesey and coxswain Israel Hands.

“Already when I was 10 years old, I was having adventures, climbing on trees and acting like a boy,” said Lavery. “When asked to rewrite ‘Treasure Island,’ I said yes because I was a pirate until I was 10.”

However, Director Polly Findlay said she did not want to simply use the clichéd images of sand and palm trees usually associated with “Treasure Island.”

“We wanted to reimagine it in a fresh and contemporary way,” said Findlay.

In addition to changing the setting, Findlay also wanted to contemporize the cast.

“Treasure Island” featured popular “Doctor Who” star Arthur Darvill as Long John Silver and up-and-coming young actress Patsy Ferran as Jim.

“We wanted to find a way to use that piece of casting to show that this is a show for everybody,” said Findlay.

“Treasure Island,” it seems, is no longer a story just for boys.

The play speaks to all audiences in a way that makes it highly appealing and entertaining. It is a story that everybody can relate to, male or female.

“We all have a pirate ship in our brains that we sometimes get onboard,” explained Lavery. “It’s Stevenson’s brilliance [that shows] that we need a ship sometimes that takes us somewhere else.”NTLIVE2

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