“Sea voyages are in almost every thing I’ve ever done,” Mary Zimmerman acknowledged in an e-mail exchange. The auteur, known for stage realizations of The Odyssey, The Argonauticka, and other watery epics, supposes that the ocean holds a “great romance” for her because she grew up in landlocked Nebraska. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Inland” (“What do they long for, as I long for / One salt smell of the sea once more?”) became her childhood “incantation.”
Now Zimmerman is going down to the sea in ships again, with an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, scheduled to receive its world premiere at Lookingglass Theatre in October.
The novel that gave us nasty old Long John Silver and all the pirate tropes that go with him, Treasure Island is the tale of Jim Hawkins, an innkeeper’s adolescent son who follows a map through battles and mutinies and all manner of double crosses to a spot marked with an X. If Zimmerman’s version is anything like her previous shows, it will feel at once sumptuous and economical, stylized and idiomatic, graceful and comic. It will certainly concern itself with bravery, because, as Zimmerman points out, oceans are “always audacious to cross.” And you might expect some dark tones too, because they “beckon and destroy.”
10/7-1/31,Wed-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 7:30 PM, Sun 2 PM (see website for additional performances), Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan, 312-337-0665, lookingglasstheatre.org, $42-$120.