Harlequin Productions presents Jane Jones’ adaptation of Jim Lynch’s bestselling novel, The Highest Tide, February 28th through March 21st at the State Theater in downtown Olympia. Artistic Director Aaron Lamb will direct.
The beach talks to Miles O’Malley. Obsessed with all things aquatic,13-year-old, stature-challenged Miles loves combing the tidal beaches near his Puget Sound home in the middle of the night. When one of his discoveries lands him unexpectedly in the news, he is launched into involuntary celebrity, shaking his world in a way that is only topped by the Nisqually earthquake.
The Highest Tide is a story about Olympia. As Jim Lynch puts it, Harlequin’s production will be mounted “within a stroll from the tidal flats that inspired the book in the first place.” Having recently become a full-time Olympia resident himself, Lamb chose the adaptation for the 2020 Season “to celebrate the community I’ve chosen to be a part of.”
Outside of the locale, Lamb was drawn to the lyrical simplicity of Lynch’s writing, which distills nuanced, complex subjects and ideas into language that is at once poetic and disarmingly direct. As adapter Jane Jones puts it, “The magic of life, the unsettling awakenings of sexual desire, the loss of innocence, the guilt of deception and the confrontation of death all find their way, miraculously, into this story.” Lamb makes clear that Lynch’s writing will be front-and-center in the adaptation: “We are presenting Jim’s story. We will portray the South Sound the way he does.”
The challenge of bringing a sweeping narrative to the stage is one of scope. Says Lamb, “There are so many places we go, people we meet, and so many scenes, that the test is to make that possible in a fixed location while making it flow effortlessly.” To do this, set designer Jeannie Beirne will reimagine the State Theater stage, and videographer John Serembe will incorporate film from local areas. The result will be suggestions of locations and narrative elements, rather than a straightforward set. Says Lamb, “If we let the audience imagine something, they will invest in it more and believe it more than if we show them something and ask them to believe it.”
When it comes to the central character, Harlequin’s production holds one last unexpected twist. Lamb determined that the sheer size of the role and the number of performances for a school-age child would be best served if shared between two actors. Thus, Miles O’Malley will be played by two local boys, Jack Conklin and Leo Brotherton, who also just happen to be cousins. Brotherton and Conklin will alternate performances, each bringing their unique stamp to the production. Audiences are encouraged to see both interpretations!
WHAT: Harlequin Productions presents The Highest Tide, Jane Jones’ adaptation of the best-selling novel by Jim Lynch, directed by Aaron Lamb.
WHEN: February 28 – March 21, 2020
WHERE: State Theater, 202 4th Ave East, Olympia, WA 98501
TICKETS: Tickets are available online at harlequinproductions.org, by phone at 360-786-0151, or in-person 12-6 pm, Tuesday-Saturday and 2 hours before performances at the Harlequin Box Office in the State Theater.
General admission tickets are $36
Senior 60+/Military $34
Student/Youths Under 25 $20
Rush Tickets (half-hour to showtime) General $18; Senior/Military $17; Student/Youth 25-20 $10; Teens (19 and under) $5
SPECIAL DATES FOR THE AUDIENCE:
Previews: Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 and Thursday, Feb 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Tickets to the Previews are $20 General Admission
Opening Night: Friday, February 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Pay-What-You-Choose: Three PWYC performances will be announced on Wednesday, February 26
Ladies’ Night Out: Friday, March 6, 2020 at 7:30 pm
Post-show Talkback: Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Pride Night: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm