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Pirates Descend on McLean

AArrrr! 'Pirates' Plight' Filmed on Locale

First as an actress and now, producer, of community theater, Jennifer Grace Farmer noticed that sometimes, when she attends musical theater performances, the overture lasts too long.

She’s fixed that problem with C.A.S.T. of McLean’s presentation of “The Pirates of Penzance,” scheduled for a three-weekend summer run at The Alden Theater in McLean.

While the six-minute overture is played by an 11-member pit orchestra, a film will be projected onstage.

“Sometimes I find myself waiting for the overture to be over,” she said. “This way [the audience] also have something to look at.”

The film will be short and soundless, in the style of a silent movie, said Farmer. Titled “Pirates’ Plight, or Beware the Beltway,” the film shows a band of pirates as they arrive by ship in Baltimore Harbor, then take a drive around the Beltway to McLean.

Once there, they plunder their way down Chain Bridge Road to Ingleside Drive, marauding through the parking lot to the Alden Theater.

Not to reveal too many of the surprises that Director Kevin McCormack has planned, the audience will greet the real cast of “Pirates of Penzance just after one of them has a duel with the orchestra conductor, each man using the weapon at hand.

For the conductor, that’s a baton. For the pirate, it’s a foil.

FOR TWO DAYS, the cast of the play was filmed and videotaped at locations from Baltimore to McLean.

The shooting schedule for the six-minute film required a call at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday and an equally forbidding 6 a.m. on Sunday for the actors.

On Saturday, they drove to Baltimore to film on board a full-sized “Clipper City” charter sailing ship.

“This has been more fun that I could ever imagine,” said Farmer, the organizer of a schedule that placed the crew in eight locations on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The one scheduled shooting time they forwent was the last one: retakes. There was no need for those.

In fact, the crew ran ahead of schedule, assisted in part by glorious summer weather and a rambunctious crew of pirates.

“They started to get in the spirit at the audition,” said Farmer. “I don’t think they realized they’d have to get up at 4 a.m.” to go to Baltimore, she said.

“But when we drove up and saw the ship, it was really from then that they got in the spirit of it,“ she said.

Then, they came to McLean, where the pirates stormed the kitchen at Rocco’s to get their lunch.

THEY PLUNDERED their way through Salona Village, visiting MailBoxes, Etc.; Enrico’s dry cleaners and tailors, the women at the Treasure Trove consignment shop, for whom treasure has as slightly more pragmatic definition, and McLean Family Restaurant.

Salona Jewelers, Name Droppers, and Color Wheel will also be shown in the film.

The crew ended their Hollywood-style weekend with a cast lunch at Pulcinella’s.

The videographer was Lew Fraga of Richmond, who also shoots commercial jobs such as weddings and corporate products.

Box Office Information:

For tickets to “The Pirates of Penzance,” call the Alden Theatre box office, 703-790-9223. Prices range from $9.50 to $12.50. Performances will be July 12-14; 19-21 and 26-27.