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PIRATES INVADE MRES: Huntington man tells students the story of ‘Treasure Island’

February 29, 2012

Joel Froomkin tells gives his one-man version of the beloved “Treasure Island” at Mary Raber Elementary School Monday. — Post & Mail photo / Robin R. Plasterer

COLUMBIA CITY — It only took 70 minutes for Joel Froomkin to tell the story of Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island.”
The students at Mary Raber Elementary School appeared to be under a spell as they listened to the exciting sound effects, the different characters of the beloved children’s book and the adventures of the various pirates.
All of it came alive with the talents of Huntington’s Joel Froomkin.
Using music, sound effects and nothing but the author’s own words, Froomkin of Page on Stage presented this exciting swashbuckling tale of pirates searching for hidden treasure.
Froomkin, a voice over actor and dialect master, brought characters Jim Hawkins and his private adversaries to life.
Long John Silver, Billy Bones and Ben Gunn were just some of the characters who kept the young swabs on the edge of their seats for over an hour.
With a microphone attached to his head, he followed a script so the story was accurate.
In different dialects and body movements he completely kept each character separate.
Froomkin brought the story alive, not holding back or toning down the swashbuckling adventure.
“We have two allies … rum and the climates,” said Jim Hawkins.
After Hawkins killed Capt. Silver, he threw him into the ocean and said, “Foam and blood, food for fish.”
The children were enthralled by his story.
He went on to tell how Hawkins found the treasure using a skeleton, with the feet pointed one way and hands up like a diver’s.
“This ain’t natural,” he said.
But then another twist in the story … the treasure was gone.
“Ben Gunn moved the treasure into his cave. When we found the treasure we split the treasure equal. Gunn spent or lost his treasure in 19 days,” he concluded.
“The story was set in 1783 and the oceans were full of real pirates,” he told the children during a question and answer period following his presentation.
Froomkin explained that if he were to perform the entire story of “Treasure Island,” it would take 16 hours.
He condensed it down to approximately 70 minutes.
This program was sponsored by the Honeywell Center in Wabash.

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