Navy Veteran and former Seabee Glenn Shadwell visited the cast of the musical, South Pacific, presented by the Summer Place Theatre.
“I was flattered to have the opportunity to come. It’s not very often that we get thought of, we’re kind of a small group. But this has been very entertaining and I’m looking forward to seeing the final production,” said Shadwell.
Shadwell shared his story of serving in the Navy and gave the actors a brief history of the Seabees to help them prepare for their role. Even though a Seabee’s main job is to build, they are still trained to defend themselves.
“We were building roads and bridges and water railways and everything while we were getting shot at,” said Shadwell. “And if it got too bad we stopped what we were doing and we picked up our weapon and we fought back.”
The show takes place on a Navy base during World War II where the military is stationed on a South Pacific island. The cast and crew wanted to get a better understanding of the Seabees so their performance is genuine.
“It was so amazing, so amazing. We can’t believe that we got a real life Seabee in Illinois who actually went through, well I shouldn’t say a bunch, but multiple wars, and who actually saw combat and actually had to sit there and build houses while being shot at. I mean, that’s just not something that most people really understand,” said Jorge Bermudez, director of South Pacific.
Though not all the actors are playing a Seabee, knowing more about them helps the cast understand the context and history of the story they are playing.
“I’m really proud that our organization, our directors found a Seabee and reached out and brought him to come talk to us. That doesn’t happen very often,” said actor of South Pacific Nick Greanias.
The cast performed a couple of songs for Shadwell as a teaser for the musical that will take place on June 7 and 8 at the Yellow Box Theater.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ and Christian Canizal report.