School of Performing Arts presenting ‘A Pirate’s Life for She’ in February, March

The University of Maine School of Performing Arts is presenting a new show from the Division of Theatre and Dance throughout the remainder of February and in early March. “A Pirate’s Life for She,” written by Amie Root and directed by D. Granke, will feature six shows at Hauck Auditorium that are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23–24 and March 1–2, as well as 2 p.m. on Feb. 25 and March 3.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online; student admission is free with a valid MaineCard.

“Amie and I know each other from the Society of American Fight Directors,” said Granke. “This show is full of her spirit, and some of our mutual friends were the rough basis for certain characters.”

The play is a queer-friendly, nautical and comedic romp with action, friendship and sea shanties in the mix — like the relationship between Root and Granke minus the shanties. Its modern spin on gender roles and attitudes traditionally inherent to this genre of storytelling speak to Root’s reasons for writing the piece.

“When I was a young actor I auditioned for ‘Pirates of Penzance,’” said Root. “Because of the plot’s reliance on gender, myself and many of my fellow femme and genderqueer actors were not cast.

“We had all the skills to be excellent singing pirates,” she continued. “But we were relegated to a different crew due to our gender. Pushing the boat on and off the stage as we watched the show go on without us. That is when I decided to write ‘A Pirate’s Life for She.’”

The School of Performing Arts is joining with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to present a panel discussion about LGBTQ+ representation in the arts following the performance on Feb. 23. Panelists will include Rosalie Purvis, UMaine assistant professor of theater and English; Jonathan Berry, artistic director of Penobscot Theatre Company; and members of the cast.

Camaraderie and inclusivity is a large part of why Granke wanted to bring the play to the UMaine stage. “I really hope the students find it fun and empowering,” he said. “One of the other reasons we picked this play is representation. Amie wrote this play because the opportunities for women to use stage combat skills is lacking in the repertoire, particularly for this style of swordplay.”

“A Pirate’s Life for She” was made possible with generous support from the Alton ’30 and Adelaide Hamm Campus Activity Fund.

Read the full story from the School of Performing Arts.