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Pirates to retell history of Solana Beach

SOLANA BEACH — With a little help from some time-traveling pirates and city funding, the youth of North Coast Repertory Theatre will present “The Perfectly Preposterous Pirate Adventure of Solana Beach” at 5 p.m. May 19 through May 22 and 2 p.m. May 22.
A tale of the city’s history and unique qualities, the play begins in the 1920s, jumps forward 100 years to a time when Solana Beach becomes its own country, and concludes in 2011.
With the exception of the time-traveling marauders, the story of how and why Solana Beach became a city is accurate, according to Matt Thompson, the theater school director who co-wrote the adventure with Kathryn Byrd, NCRT development officer.
“I took lots of liberties with the pirates, but historically it’s concrete,” Thompson said.
So why the high-sea bandits?
“I like pirates,” Thompson said. “They’re nautical, and this is a beach town. And kids like pirates.”
In 2009, as part of its Community Grant Program, City Council voted 4-1 to allocate $3,000 to NCRT to produce the show this year for the city’s 25th anniversary celebration. While Councilman Tom Campbell said he thought it was a worthy program, he felt there were organizations with greater financial needs at the time.
Thompson said total production costs were about $8,000, so city funding was significantly helpful. But he said he probably would have eventually tried to produce the show without help from the city because he likes to learn about the places where he lives and works.
“I’m a history buff,” he said. “I think it’s important to learn how (history) affects the community.”
Thompson has been with NCRT since 2005 and was named theater school director in 2008. Although he doesn’t live in Solana Beach, he said he has “emotional ties” to the city.
His father used to live on Rios Avenue. It’s also the city where Thompson proposed to his future wife. “I feel strongly committed to the area,” he said.
To ensure accuracy, Thompson worked with the Solana Beach Civic and Historical Society. The process was “interesting,” he said, because he had to work within the parameters of the grant. He also said writing the script was not as easy as he expected it to be.
“It was a little more challenging than I thought,” Thompson said. “I had to leave out a lot of the real estate development stuff because it’s a kids’ show.
“And because it’s small and only 25 years old, there wasn’t much information,” he said. “I had to go back to before it was a city to learn how and why it wanted to became a city. There was an active drive to do that.”
The show stars 14-year-old Grauer School student Thor Sigurdsson as the pirate captain. Featured as mayor is Amanda Dodson, granddaughter of Marion Dodson, who actually served as a three-time Solana Beach mayor.
Other cast members include Aria and Siena Balance, Bayleigh Bogan, Alyssa Cochran, Molly Gillies, Delaney Hulshof, Joelle Leib, Ben Natkin, Emily North, Sarah Norton, Darius Paymai, Kate Ross, Kira Sedayao and Madison Vice.
Tickets are $9 and $12 and available at northcoastrep.com.
“It’s a quirky show that brings out the positive aspects of the city that we still see today and the contributions it made to the county in terms of tourism and the wonderful lifestyle,” Thompson said.