|The Cay, adapted for the stage by Gayle Cornelison, from the beloved children's novel written by Theodore Taylor.
Dr. Cornelison, who specializes in shorter length family-friendly plays, has taken a great work and made it better. To get the running time down to about an hour he has cut out most of the boring survival scenes yet kept the strong dramatic moments, making for a powerful drama.
Phillip Enright is an 11-year old American boy living in Curaçao in the 1940’s. Although not a raging little racist, he has been raised to view black people as different and inferior, and never had a reason to question these beliefs. He will soon be forced to do so.
Returning to America with his mother to escape World War II the frigate he is sailing on is torpedoed by a German submarine and sinks. Phillip is hit on the head by a beam and falls into the sea unconscious. He is rescued by Timothy, an elderly Afro-Caribbean crewman who hauls him into a life raft along with Stew the ship’s cat. Phillip is initially afraid of the large black man and rather rude to him. The pain in his head grows worse and after 3 days at sea he wakes up totally blind.
They make it to a small uninhabited island called a ’Cay’ (or ’Key). Phillip gradually learns to respect and admire this uneducated yet kind and wise old man who teaches Phillip to survive and fend for himself on the island despite being blind.
The Cay by Theodore Taylor is beloved by children of all ages.