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Japanese pirate play among new off-season offerings at Boston Harbor

The premiere of Bryan Willis’ short play “Wokou & the Two-Headed Dragon of Death” features seven Japanese students who attend Pierce College. All are part of an ensemble called Kiyohime Kuniyoshi and her Taiko Drummers, which also will play not only drums but cymbals and a Japanese flute before the play’s premiere.
The premiere of Bryan Willis’ short play “Wokou & the Two-Headed Dragon of Death” features seven Japanese students who attend Pierce College. All are part of an ensemble called Kiyohime Kuniyoshi and her Taiko Drummers, which also will play not only drums but cymbals and a Japanese flute before the play’s premiere. Courtesy of Bryan Willis

Local fans of International Talk Like a Pirate Day are invited to celebrate on the beach this year — at a truly international celebration.

To commemorate the day, which falls on Sept. 19, Olympia playwright Bryan Willis will premiere “Wokou & the Two-Headed Dragon of Death,” about the pirates of Japan. The free production will happen on the beach at Boston Harbor Marina.

“It is International Talk Like a Pirate Day,” Willis told The Olympian. “I thought it would be fun to write about pirates other than the ones we usually think of.”

“Wokou,” he said, is a Japanese word for pirate. “I used some stories from Japan,” he added.

The short play, produced by the Northwest Playwrights Alliance and the Academy of International Education, features seven Pierce College students from Japan, all working with Willis as part of the academy, which helps students who dropped out of high school in Japan adjust to life and college in the United States.

The students, part of an ensemble called Kiyohime Kuniyoshi and her Taiko Drummers, also will play not only drums but cymbals and a Japanese flute. “The drumming will be amazing,” Willis said. “It’s quite beautiful to watch as well.”

Willis is excited about the setting on the beach at Boston Harbor Marina — and about all the happenings at the marina. “It’s good to see a community marina thriving,” he said.

Purchased four years ago by the Foster-Keddie family, the marina is expanding its off-season events. “Things are traditionally pretty slow in the winter, but we’re adding more stuff,” general manager Clancy Ray told The Olympian.

The marina has expanded the year-round menu at its Snack Shack and offers a larger menu during Seahawks games and special events.

Boston Harbor hosts concerts in the summer, but “Wokou” will be its first play. “We’re looking forward to it and not quite sure what to expect,” Ray said.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day is a silly holiday, one Willis has celebrated a number of times with performances of his previous pirate play, “I Love You, Flavilla.”

Fun though it will be, Willis said, “Wokou” does have a serious side.

“I got to think about the nature of how we choose our leaders,” he said. “How do we choose reliable, sustainable leadership? The play has been a wonderful springboard for the cast to explore that, and we want to take our audience with us in that exploration.”

‘Wokou & the Two-Headed Dragon of Death’

What: A new play by Olympia’s Bryan Willis commemorates International Talk Like a Pirate Day and showcases the drumming and acting talents of Pierce College students from Japan.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday with pre-show taiko drumming at 6:45 p.m.

Where: Boston Harbor Marina, 312 73rd Ave. NE, Olympia

Admission: Free

More information: 360-357-5670, bostonharbormarina.com

Also at Boston Harbor Marina

The marina is expanding its off-season activities, held on the deck when weather permits and otherwise in the 700 Dock (a room inside the marina). Among the coming events are:

Wine tastings: 5-8 p.m. the 3rd Saturday of each month through December. Themes are Washington Wines (Sept. 22); The Best of the West (Oct. 20); Thanksgiving Pairings (Nov. 17); and Holiday Wines (Dec. 15). Admission is free; cost of wine varies.

Movies at the Marina: 5:30-7:30 p.m. the last Thursday of each month through December. Next up is “The Goonies” on Sept. 27, with future titles to be announced. Free.

How-To Tuesdays: 5-7 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month through December. Next up is a talk on salmon fishing on Oct. 2, with future topics to be announced. Free.

Trivia nights hosted by local breweries: 6-8 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month through December. Breweries hosting are The Pike (Oct. 10), 2 Towns Ciderhouse (Nov. 14) and Matchless (Dec. 12). Free.

Puget Sound Brews & News: Putting the Spotlight on Chinook at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4. Free.

Caroling on the Docks: 4-6 p.m. Dec. 23. The fifth annual caroling event features hot chocolate and cookies. Free.

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