BELFAST — Belfast Maskers presents a staged reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s cherished classic “Treasure Island” in a newly-written stage adaptation by playwright, director and dramaturge Susanne Ramczyk. Ramczyk’s adaptation embraces not only the swashbuckling and vigorous aspects of the original novel, but also the torment and tragedy that Jim Hawkins must confront and engage with in his fabulous journey. This includes his exposure to multiple deaths and murders — not only of his enemies, but also of those close to him.

The inspiration for the project came when Ramczyk visited an exhibition of N.C. Wyeth’s illustrations — including the beautiful artwork he rendered for the famous Scribner & Sons Illustrated “Treasure Island.” Years later, after retiring to Maine from her 32-year tenure as Professor of Theatre Arts at Bridgewater State University, she found herself with the time to tackle the adaptation while recuperating from a broken leg.

While immersing herself in Stevenson’s text, as well as Wyeth’s compelling imagery, Ramczyk also crafted the adaptation with an eye to its contemporary relevance. “It has a lot of different themes that resonate with today’s audiences — thrusting children into adulthood too soon, a child who loses his father and is looking for a father figure, the trauma that a child does suffer,” she said. “That’s the bent that I have taken, I believe without losing that sense of excitement, glamour and romance of the setting of 18th century piracy. The swashbuckling is there.” Audiences of the staged reading will get a glimpse of that high seas adventure, but not the full choreographed stage combat she envisions for an upcoming full production.

“Treasure Island” is presented at the Basil Burwell Community Theater, 17 Court St., Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. Audience members must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in the building and masks must stay on for the duration of the play. General admission tickets are on sale now at — $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. A 15% discount for groups of six or more is applied when tickets are purchased online.