HOULTON, Maine – A Millinocket author who has written a collection of tales centered on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway will see one of his books adapted into a play for the first time this weekend.
The Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre will present its annual production of “An Allagash Haunting,” written by author Tim Caverly, on April 29 and 30, at the Houlton High School auditorium and again on May 7, at Stearns High School in Millinocket.
“An Allagash Haunting” is set in the Allagash region of northern Maine, and tells the story of 10-year-old Olivia, who, while on a canoe trip in the Allagash with her parents, meets an unexpected visitor near an abandoned lumbermen’s boarding house. The book is the second of three children’s books by Tim Caverly that are set in the Allagash wilderness region. It has been adapted into a stage production by the author and the Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre.
Contacted Thursday afternoon, Caverly said that he was looking forward to seeing his book played out on stage for the first time.
“This is the first time it has ever been done,” said Caverly, who retired in 1999 after a 32-year career with the Maine Department of Conservation, which included 18 years as supervisor of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. “I will be there to introduce the play and do a book signing afterward for those who want it. From what I have heard, the children have been working very hard on this.”
Caverly worked with Barbara Hogan, the president of the Star Bright Theatre, to adapt the book into a play. The theater’s board of directors has been raising funds since last year to finance the performance.
“Barbara [Hogan] and I worked together to adapt it, but she did most of the work,” said Caverly.
The production will include traditional Acadian folk songs from the Allagash region which were collected in a volume of Acadian songs, recipes and customs, “Memories d’une Famille Acadienne,” by Marguerite Cyr, whose niece Joan Logan is coaching the cast members in their French pronunciations for the play. The theater has adapted the songs from the hand-written manuscript and translated the lyrics from Acadian French into English. Some of the songs will be performed in both languages.
Hogan and Ann Barnes are directing the play, with musical direction by Mary Miller.
The cast will feature performers and a chorus of local children ranging in age from first through tenth grade. The children have been hard at work in rehearsals since December of last year.
Caverly has been busy doing presentations on his books in schools across the state.
“I think children are really interested in the books because they are close to Maine,” he said. “They are talking to their parents about what it used to be like when they were younger and camped and canoed in the Allagash.”
The Houlton Star Bright Children’s Theatre, founded in 1969 by students at Ricker College, is one of the oldest community children’s theatres in the country and offers live theater for and by children to the greater Houlton area. The theatre is a nonprofit organization supported by volunteer help and community donations.
There will be two Houlton performances of “An Allagash Haunting.” The first will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, and at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 10. The play will be presented in Millinocket at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Tickets will be sold at the door. Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $3 for students, $4 for seniors and $15 for a family of four or more.