The Sauk Theater was buzzing the evening of Thursday, Oct. 10 when director Trinity Bird’s cast put on Jonesville’s first theatrical performance of “Lord of the Flies” at the Sauk. This performance was deeply important to Bird; “Lord of the Flies” is a story that has been very close to his heart since he first read it in high school.
“Lord of the Flies” is a play about the lives of 11 young boys left on a deserted island after a mysterious plane crash. The boys are alone on the island with no adults and must govern themselves for survival. Conflict arises between two boys: Ralph, the chosen leader of the island, and Jack, an older choir prefect who thinks he should be in charge. During their time on the island, the boys become increasingly savage and violent.
The play is based off William Golding’s 1954 novel of the same name and was adapted for the stage by Nigel Williams. The actors, some of whom were as young as 10 years old, and none older than juniors in high school, were energetic and engrossing. and there were several, very touching moments. One especially moving moment occurs during the final moments of the play: naval officers arrive on the island to rescue the boys right as a group of the survivors stand over Ralph, moments away from killing him. They stand and exit the stage with the officers as Ralph, stands alone in the center of the stage and weeps for his murdered friends.
The play was so moving to audience member Susan Schray that she remarked afterwards she wishes she had already read Golding’s novel.
It “just shows that between generations kids — people — prey on each other in similar ways.”
Now, after seeing it on stage, she said she hopes to read the novel in the future.
The Sauk’s performance starred Noah Honeywell in his debut theatrical performance as Ralph, Jonah VanderHoff as Piggy, and Jacob Boswell as Jack. Each performer was on stage for nearly the entire one-and-a-half-hour play, jumping on and off set pieces and running from “beasties” and other boys with hunting spears. Whether they were hunting pigs in the forest, dancing and feasting like savages, or fighting each other on the island beaches, each actor was moving throughout the entire performance.
One audience member Sally Fallon said just watching the boys wore her out.
“Their agility is just unbelievable,” Fallon said.
She added that Bird’s direction of the play and actors was “just amazing.”
Bird and cast have been working on this production since auditions began the week of Aug. 5.
Honeywell said after the play that he worked on his part every day, on stage and off, only taking an occasional night off the entire time he was preparing for the role.
He practiced at the Sauk as well as at home, where his parents helped him memorize his lines, cues, and learn his onstage blocking.
“My parents really supported me,” Honeywell said. “They helped me memorize my lines. My dad even recorded me reading them so I could listen to them over and over.”
Honeywell said he was nervous before Thursday’s first performance but added that now having conquered the first performance, in future performances he would just “be confident!”
“Lord of the Flies” was Honeywell’s first-ever onstage performance. In fact, five of the 13 actors made their Sauk debuts Thursday night.
Honeywell was tremendously excited, as were the other boys.
Offstage, still blood-stained and painted like warriors, the actors were all smiles, asking Bird to rate their performances and the success of the play overall. Their camaraderie was very evident behind the scenes, even though onstage many of the boys were bitter enemies. Offstage, their energy was electric.
Bird was proud of his actors.
“I may or may not have teared up a little bit when you all took your places,” he told them after Thursday’s performance. “I am so incredibly proud of you guys.”
“Lord of the Flies” showed Oct. 11 – 13, and will return to the Sauk stage on Oct. 20.