Arts & Entertainment
The Fish Pirate's Daughter
Ketchikan's First City Players
Review by Bill Hupe
July 10, 2006
Ketchikan, Alaska - The opening night of the 40th Anniversary
of the Fish Pirate's Daughter began with a flourish as State
Representative, Jim Elkins, read a commendation for the First
City Players on being named the number two most active community
theatre group in the United States. No mean feat for a theatre
group 'from Nowhere'.
Fish Pirate's Daughter
Photograph courtesy Susan Batho & Bill Hupe
The admission fee included all-you-can-eat fresh crab, corn bread,
and coleslaw, and quite honestly, the best crab I've ever eaten.
Whilst we dined, Svenson came through seeking his daughter, and
the Creek Street Ladies of the Line tempted us with their 'wares'.
As the sound of cracking crab
shells started to recede, the director, Elizabeth Nelson, announced
the beginning of the evening's production with a flourish on
the piano, and the characters were introduced greeted in the
time-honoured tradition of the melodrama; the lights dimmed,
and the laughter started.
It's been many years since
I've seen a melodrama (at an amusement park in Southern California,
no less), and I had forgotten how much fun they could be. All
of the character elements were present to perfection: the Boy
Scout hero, the damsel in distress, the scorned woman, and the
dastardly, villainous villain. Joel Galli as Sweet William Uprightly
and Kelly Zientek as Little Nell were clearly channeling Dudley
Do-Right and his Sweet Nell, and were a perfect fit for the script.
Misty Franklin (who played Vergas in the recent production of
"Much Ado About Nothing") as Maypole clearly enjoyed
her role "trying to Seduce a Boy Scout", and Jack Shay
(also seen in "Much Ado About Nothing") as the evil,
ne'er do well Kurt Von Ohlsun was outstanding. Of special note
is the fact that Jack Shay played the same character the in the
original production 40 years ago.
Deb Turnbull though, as The
Madame, Violetta LaRosa, was the highlight of the evening, bouncing
(literally) from a woman of ill-repute, to the role of a scorned
woman; to the keeper of "The Secret", and back again
and again and again. Her Ladies of the Line providing the 'Support'
All the performers were in
fine voice, and even though a forty year old production, Fish
Pirate's Daughter has aged very little.
As a recent resident Ketchikan,
this was my first time seeing The Fish Pirate's Daughter. I found
myself very thoroughly entertained, and my only disappointment
was that the production ended so quickly. It provided a wonderful,
humourous glimpse into Ketchikan's seedy past, and I look forward
to seeing it again, and bringing lots of visitors as well.
Related Feature Articles:
Bill Hupe is a resident
of Ketchikan and Faulconbridge NSW, Australia. Most of his writing
is with Susan Batho (also a resident of both places). Known by
most people as "The Twins", they are a writing and
photographic team and specializing in photography of Alaska and
Australia. Their website www.beaustud.com
features some of their work, and they can be reached through
THE FISH PIRATE'S DAUGHTER: How Did
It Happen? By JUNE
ALLEN - Ketchikan's First City Players' long-running melodrama
The Fish Pirate's Daughter was written and debuted in 1966. The
hilarious spoof on Prohibition, Creek Street and fish pirating
was a little bit of history, a few naughty characters and a lot
of laughs. It was a natural continuation of the First City Players'
first year of productions. The mid-'60s were also a time when
Ketchikan's leaders were doing some serious thinking about attracting
some of the tourism dollars that other towns in Alaska were enjoying.
A popular play with a universal plot was a natural for both locals
and visitors. - More...
June 27, 2002
FISH PIRATES & FISH TRAPS; Ketchikan's
Real Melodrama! By
JUNE ALLEN - There's something romantic and exciting about the
word "pirate." That high-seas occupation called piracy
must go way back, because the word itself is from Latin, and
that borrowed from the Greek. The young Caesar was good at piracy,
called it war in those days. The history of the new-world Atlantic
and Caribbean is one of piracy in the name of the Queen!. whichever
sovereign. - More...
August 30, 2002
Publish A Letter on SitNews Read Letters/Opinions
Contact the Editor
Stories In The News