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NANTUCKET’S PUBLIC THEATER SINCE 1956

Theatre Workshop continues to be a vital resource for all who live in and visit Nantucket—as it has been since its founding in 1956. We create jobs, support local merchants and provide entertainment that sustains Nantucket’s historic downtown. We excite, inspire and challenge our community, fulfilling our mission to be Nantucket’s public theater.

Nantucket has long attracted creatives of all sorts, who find inspiration and refuge on its secluded shores. Oftentimes the story of creating art takes on a life of its own and becomes art in of itself. Such is the case with Theatre Workshop of Nantucket’s origins. TWN’s prologue began when Margaret Fawcett Barnes purchased a warehouse to build the Straight Wharf Theatre in 1940 for her professional company, the Fawcett Players, who performed in the summer until 1950. Islanders attempted to stage winter theatre in the intervening years but their efforts were unsuccessful. Enter Joseph “Mac” Dixon, a Broadway trained actor and director, who came to the island accompanying his close friend Jane Wallach and her family as they withdrew to the island to care for an ailing relative. A perfect marriage between a willing and creative community and a skilled and visionary director was formed.

Wallach, a notable figure on the New York arts scene, leveraged her connections to procure an initial investment of $2,000 and Margaret Fawcett Barnes agreed to rent the Straight Wharf Theatre in the winter. TWN’s first season, from October 1956-April 1957, featured four productions of Broadway hits of the previous decades and incorporated island talent in all aspects of the production. The inaugural production, Heaven Can Wait, a 1938 Harry Segall play, foretold great success for the fledgling Theatre Workshop. Mac Dixon’s directing and the comedic chops of the cast were highly praised by Irv Stanley of The Inquirer and Mirror. Additionally, TWN began offering theatre lectures and training opportunities to the Nantucket community. Though the Straight Wharf Theatre changed ownership in 1966, TWN was granted the theatre rent-free year-round for 10 years as long as they sponsored the theatres’s maintenance and taxes. TWN began to flourish, producing plays in the winter staged by locals that would run again in repertory in the summer, with a cast of locals and off-islanders.

On a fateful evening in 1968, a college sophomore stumbled onto Straight Wharf Theatre and was thrust into a show, beginning a lifelong partnership between TWN and John Shea. This relationship was not only beneficial in the short term (Shea plugged a casting hole), but Shea credited TWN and Mac Dixon for serving as the catalyst to an award-winning acting career on Broadway and in film and television. Little did Mac know that Shea would more than repay this debt by filing his own shoes many decades later.

In 1973, TWN launched their first (and only) Equity season, an expensive undertaking that left TWN in deep debt and foretold great challenges ahead. A rival theatre, Nantucket Stage Company, then took over the summer lease for the Straight Wharf Theatre, leaving TWN without a stage for their 1975 summer season. TWN cleared the building and closed the door on over 30 years of island theatre on April 19. That evening, after the final performance of the high school senior play, the Straight Wharf Theatre was destroyed by a blazing fire. Legend goes that a member of the senior class crew had forebodingly marked the walls with the Book of Daniel’s prediction of the fall of Babylon.

Devastated by the loss of their home, TWN began to slowly put the pieces back together, buoyed by Dixon’s proclamation that “a theater is not a building; it is the people who make a theater.” A piece of land earmarked for the construction of a new theatre was donated, yet was soon found unfit for building. TWN turned to the First Congregational Church’s Bennett Hall, formerly a gymnasium, that was nightly converted into a theatre. By 1980, the theatre had soldiered on but was soon to lose its steadfast general; Mac Dixon passed the torch to colleague Richard Cary. Cary shepherded the construction of a permanent theatre in Bennett Hall and began the Armchair Theatre reading series, but resigned in 1984 to start Actors Theatre of Nantucket. Local artist Warren Krebs then began his tenure as Artistic Director, renewing TWN’s educational programming and taking on more challenging productions.

After Krebs’ resignation in 1997, TWN operated without an Artistic Director until the hiring of Kate Stout in 2001, a Nantucket playwright. During her time at TWN, she started mystery dinner theatre and offering a free performance of each production for Nantucketers over 65 and local students, a popular tradition that continues to this day. In 2004, as Actors Theatre closed after twenty years, TWN took on their Methodist Church lease (the performance space now known as Centre Stage) and brought Jane Karakula on board as Artistic Director. Karakula guided TWN into its 50th anniversary and brought new talent to TWN. John Shea returned in 2009 to the theatre where he got his start, though this time as Artistic Director. Shea brought a new energy to the theatre, launching initiatives such as the Staged Reading Series in partnership with the Nantucket Atheneum and the beloved presentation of Orson Welles’ Moby Dick - Rehearsed in collaboration with the Nantucket Historical Association. As Shea returned to his creative pursuits and continued to support TWN as Artistic Director Emeritus, TWN turned to current Artistic Director Justin Cerne in 2014, who revived the tradition of spring productions by staging All in the Timing and Relatively Speaking in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Theatre Workshop of Nantucket began with a dream of establishing a public theatre, and, most importantly, a community willing to make it happen. Six decades later, that dream still inspires. TWN’s founders believed that theatre was an integral part of Nantucket and its longevity and endurance is testament to this. Reflecting on sixty years of theatre, TWN looks forward with the immense support, both on-stage and off, of a worldwide community of arts advocates who share a love for Nantucket and the incredible art of live theatre.

Theatre Workshop Productions 1956 - 2016

2016

  • The Odd Couple (Neil Simon)
  • Venus in Fur (David Ives)
  • Annie Get Your Gun (Irving Berlin as revised by Peter Stone & Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields)
  • The Full Monty (David Yazbek & Terrence McNally)
  • November (David Mamet)
  • Love, Loss and What I Wore (Nora Ephron & Delia Ephron)
  • A Christmas Story (Joseph Robinett & Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

2015

  • All in the Timing (David Ives)
  • Rumors (Neil Simon)
  • Betrayal (Harold Pinter)
  • Into The Woods (Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine)
  • Other Desert Cities (Jon Robin Baitz)
  • Steel Magnolias (Robert Harling)
  • A Christmas Carol (Alan Menken & Lynn Ahrens)

 

2013-2014 

  • Hay Fever (Noel Coward)
  • Black Tie (A. R. Gurney)
  • Oklahoma! (Rodgers & Hammerstein)
  • The Last 5 Years (Jason Robert Brown)
  • Red (John Logan)
  • A Picasso (Jeffrey Hatcher)
  • Cinderella (Rodgers & Hammerstein)

 

2012-2013

  • Six Degrees of Separation (John Guare)
  • Dead Man's Cell Phone (Sarah Ruhl)
  • You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz & Clark Gesner)
  • The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen, and E.Y. Harburg)
  • Dracula (Edward Gorey, Novel by Bram Stoker, Adaptation Hamilton Deane and John Balderston)
  • Dinner (Moira Buffini)
  • A Christmas Carol (Alan Menken & Lynn Ahrens)

 

2011-2012 

  • The Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum, Harold Arlen, and E.Y. Harburg)
  • The Cherry Orchard (Anton Chekhov, Translation & adaptation by Gregory Stroud)
  • The Moscows of Nantucket (Sam Forman)
  • The 39 Steps (adapted by Patrick Barlow)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (Howard Ashman & Alan Menken)
  • Annie (Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin)
  • Time Stands Still (Donald Marguiles)
  • Noises Off (Michael Frayn)

 

2010-2011

Oliver! (Lionel Bart)

  • In the Next Room or the vibrator play (Sarah Ruhl)
  • The Director (Nancy Hasty)
  • The Fantasticks (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)
  • Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
  • The Book of Liz (David Sedaris, Amy Sedaris)
  • The Seafarer (Conor McPherson)
  • I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick)

 

2009-2010

  • Peter Pan (Lionel Bart)
  • A Cheever Evening (A. R. Gurney)
  • Veronica's Room (Ira Levin)
  • Blackbird (David Harrower)
  • Dinner with Friends (Donald Marguiles)
  • Our Town (Thornton Wilder)
  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Rachel Sheinkin & William Finn)

 

2008 - 2009

  • Almost, Maine (John Cariani)
  • It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play (Joel Landry)
  • Captain Louie (Stephen Schwartz & Anthony Stein)
  • Duets: Two One Act Plays featuring John Shea
  • Lend Me A Tenor (Ken Ludwig)
  • Madeline's Christmas (Ludwig Bemelmans)
  • A View of the Harbor (Richard Dresser)

 

2007 - 2008

  • Rounding Third (Richard Dresser)
  • Doubt, A Parable (John Patrick Shanley)
  • Grease (Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey)
  • The Little Mermaid (R. Eugene Jackson)
  • Pinocchio (Michele Vacca)
  • Seussical the Musical, Jr. (Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty)
  • Sylvia (A.R. Gurney)
  • Moon Over Buffalo (Ken Ludwig)
  • Blown Sideways Through Life (Claudia Shear)
  • Wait Until Dark (Frederick Knott)

 

2006 - 2007

  • Faith Healer (Brian Friel)
  • To Grandmother’s House We Go (Joanna Glass)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk (Michele Vacca)
  • A Kind of Alaska & The Dumb Waiter (Harold Pinter)
  • Lone Star Grace (Suzanne Bradbeer)
  • Cinderella (Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • Moby Dick the Musical (Robert Longden & Hereford Kaye)
  • I’ll Be Back Before Midnight (Peter Colley)
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)
  • You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz & Clark Gesner)

 

2005 - 2006

  • A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley (adapted by Israel Horovitz)
  • Beyond Therapy (Christopher Durang)
  • The Smell of the Kill (Michele Lowe)
  • Over the River and Through the Woods (Joe DiPietro)
  • The Graduate (Terry Johnson)
  • Godspell (book by John-Michael Tebelak, Music by Stephen Schwartz)

 

2004 - 2005

  • The Bald Soprano (Eugene lonesco)
  • Kiss of the Spider Woman (Manuel Puig)
  • Bad Dates (Theresa Rebeck)
  • Really Rosie (Maurice Sendak & Carole King)
  • Love Letters (A.R. Gurney)
  • My Old Lady (lsrael Horovitz)

 

2003 - 2004

  • Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare)
  • Don't Count Your Chickens Until They Cry Wolf (Carol Lyn Wright Pearson & J.A.C. Redford)
  • Born Yesterday (Garson Kanin)
  • Art (Yasmina Reza)

 

2002 - 2003

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare)
  • Criminal Hearts (Jane Martin)
  • The Taffetas (Rick Lewis & Arthur Whitelaw)
  • Together Alone (Kate Stout)

 

2001 - 2002

  • The Miracle Worker (William Gibson)
  • Oliver! (Lionel Bart)
  • Fully Committed (Beck Mode)

2000 - 2001

  • Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
  • I Hate Hamlet (Paul Rudnick)
  • Wit (Margaret Edson)

 

1999 - 2000

  • Forever Plaid (Stuart Ross)
  • Sister Mary lgnatius Explains It All for You (Christopher Durang)
  • Actor's Nightmare (Christopher Durang)
  • The Playboy of the Western World (John Millington Synge)
  • I Do! I Do! (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)
  • The Tempest (William Shakespeare)

 

1998 - 1999

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams)
  • Sylvia (A.R. Gurney)

 

1997 - 1998

  • The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie)
  • Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (based on Jacques Brel’s lyrics and commentary, music by Jacques Brel)

 

1996 - 1997

  • California Suite (Neil Simon)
  • Dancing at Lughnasa (Brian Friel)
  • Iolanthe (William Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan)
  • Confessions of a Colonial Dame (Maggie Conroy)
  • Benchley Despite Himself (Nat Benchley)
  • Final Curtain (Arlene Sterne)
  • Blue (Michel Magee)
  • City Girl, Country Woman (Maggi-Meg Reed)
  • Moby Dick Rehearsed (Orson Welles)

 

1995 - 1996

  • Pantomime (Derek Walcott)
  • Sunflowers (Victoria Bassett Bakshi)
  • Flying West (Pearl Cleage)
  • Major Disaster in Minor Key (Jennifer Lane)
  • Romance Night: 3 Short Plays (Marc Bilgrey, Seth Kramer & Dain Dunston)
  • Don't Dress for Dinner (Marc Camoletti & Robin Hawdon)
  • The National Shakespeare Company: Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare)

 

1994 - 1995

  • You Know I Can't Hear You When The Water's Running (Robert Anderson)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (Joseph Kesselring)
  • Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Christopher Hampton)
  • Out Of the Blue (Richard Hoehler)

 

1993 - 1994

  • Portia's Legacy (Jennifer Lane)
  • Taking Steps (Alan Ayckbourn)
  • Pump Boys and Dinettes (Foley, Hardwick, Monk, Morgan, Schimmel & Wann)

 

1992 - 1993

  • Butterflies Are Free (Leonard Gershe)
  • A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley (adapted by Israel Horovitz)
  • You Can't Take lt With You (George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart)
  • The Subject Was Roses (Frank D. Gilroy)
  • The Fantasticks (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)
  • Sleuth (Anthony Shaffer)

 

1991 - 1992

  • The Skin of Our Teeth (Thornton Wilder)
  • Rumors (Neil Simon)
  • Little Shop of Horrors (Howard Ashman & Alan Menken)

 

1990 - 1991

  • Charley's Aunt (Brandon Thomas)
  • On Golden Pond (Ernest Thompson)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Dale Wasserman based on book by Ken Kesey)
  • Coastal Disturbances (Tina Howe)
  • Amadeus (Peter Shaffer)
  • The Child Behind the Eyes (Nava Semel)

 

1989 - 1990

  • Cheaters (Michael Jacobs)
  • Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (Ed Graczyk)
  • The Boys Next Door (Tom Griffin)
  • I'm Not Rappaport (Herb Gardner)
  • The Pirates of Penzance (William Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan)
  • A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking (John Ford Noonan)

 

1988 - 1989

  • Play On! (Rick Abbot)
  • Crimes of the Heart (Beth Henley)
  • P.S. Your Cat is Dead! (James Kirkwood)

 

1987 - 1988

  • Hotel Paradiso (Georges Feydeau)
  • Talking With (Jane Martin)
  • School for Scandal (Richard Brinsley Sheridan)
  • Wait Until Dark (Frederick Knott)
  • Tom Foolery (Tom Lehrer)
  • How the Other Half Lives (Alan Ayckbourn)
  • Social Security (Andrew Bergman)

 

1986 - 1987

  • True West (Sam Shepard)
  • Philadelphia, Here l Come! (Brian Friel)
  • Oklahoma! (Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein II)
  • The Dining Room (A.R. Gurney)

 

1985 - 1986

  • Born Yesterday (Garson Kanin)
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors (Gian Carlo Menotti)
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Tennessee Williams)
  • H.M.S. Pinafore (William Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan)
  • The Unexpected Guest (Agatha Christie)

 

1984 - 1985

  • Lunch Hour (Jean Kerr)
  • Blithe Spirit (Noel Coward)
  • Barefoot in the Park (Neil Simon)
  • Company (Stephen Sondheim & George Furth)

 

1983 - 1984

  • Our Town (Thornton Wilder)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Stephen Sondheim,  Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart)
  • Plaza Suite (Neil Simon)
  • The Time of your Life (William Saroyan)
  • Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, based on Jacques Brel’s lyrics and commentary, music by Jacques Brel

 

1982 - 1983

  • The Fantasticks (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)
  • Picnic (William lnge)
  • The Prisoner of Second Avenue (Neil Simon)
  • Zoo Story (Edward Albee)
  • The Bald Soprano (Eugene lonesco)
  • Light up the Sky (Moss Hart)

 

1981 - 1982

  • The Hollow (Agatha Christie)
  • Summer and Smoke (Tennessee Williams)
  • The Lady's Not for Burning (Christopher Fry)

 

1980 - 1981

  • Harvey (Mary Chase)
  • Little Nell, The Orphan Girl (Nelson Goodhue)
  • Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller)
  • Cactus FIower (Abe Burrows)
  • Three Men on a Horse (George Abbott & John Cecil Holm)

 

1979 - 1980

  • White Liars/Black Comedy (Peter Shaffer)
  • The Bat (Mary Roberts Rinehart & Avery Hopwood)

 

1978 - 1979

  • The Happy Journey (Thornton Wilder)
  • The Moon Shines on Kylenamoe (Sean O'Casey)
  • My Fair Lady (Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe)

 

1977 - 1978

  • The Miracle Worker (William Gibson)
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Shakespeare)
  • Night Must Fall (Emlyn Williams)
  • A Marriage Proposal (Anton Chekhov)

 

1976 - 1977

  • Bus Stop (William lnge)
  • Seven Keys to Baldpate (George M. Cohan)
  • The Emperor Jones (Eugene O'Neill)
  • Twelfth Night (William Shakespeare)
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (Joseph Kesselring)
  •  

1975 - 1976

  • Charley's Aunt (Brandon Thomas)
  • Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carrol)
  • Tonight at 8:30 (Noel Coward)
  • Breath of Spring (Peter Coke)
  • Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett)
  • Waltz of the Toreadors (Jean Anouilh)
  • Working (Studs Terkel)
  •  

1974 - 1975

  • I Tell of an Island (Margaret Fawcett-Barnes)
  • Dames at Sea (George Haimsohn, Robin Miller & Jim Wise)
  • Murder in the Cathedral (T.S. Eliot)
  • The Knack (Ann Jellicoe)
  • Once Upon a Mattress (Mary Rogers)
  • The Innocents (William Archibald)
  • Promenade, All (David B. Robison)
  • Hello and Goodbye (Athol Fugard)
  • Rhinoceros (Eugene lonesco)

 

1973 - 1974

  • Butterflies Are Free (Leonard Gershe)
  • Saint Joan (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Don't Drink the Water (Woody Allen)
  • The Night of the Iguana (Tennessee Williams)
  • The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Paul Zindel)
  • Private Lives (Noel Coward)

 

1972 - 1973

  • Angel Street (Patrick Hamilton)
  • Saint Joan (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Paint Your Wagon (Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe)
  • House of Blue Leaves (John Guare)
  • You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz & Clark Gesner)
  • Story Theatre (Paul Sills)
  • The lnnocents (William Archibald)
  •  

1971 - 1972

  • You Can't Take it With You (George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart)
  • All The Way Home (Tad Mosel)
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Hugh Wheeler)
  • A Cry of Players (William Gibson)
  • Riverwind (John Jennings)
  • Forty Carats (Jay Allen)
  • The Confidential Clerk (T.S. Eliot)
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Edward Albee)
  • Little Women (John Ravold)
  • The Time of the Cuckoo (Arthur Laurents)

 

1970 - 1971

  • See How They Run (Philip King)
  • Wait Until Dark (Frederick Knott)
  • The Fantasticks (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)
  • The Little Foxes (Lillian Hellman)
  • Anna Christie (Eugene O'Neill)
  • Plaza Suite (Neil Simon)
  • The Seagull (Anton Chekhov)
  •  

1969 - 1970

  • Catch Me lf You Can (Jack Weinstock & Willie Gilbert)
  • A School for Wives (Moliere)
  • Lovers (Brian Friel)
  • The Lion in Winter (James Goldman)
  • Macy's Bright Star (Margaret Fawcett)
  • Spoon River Anthology (Charles Aidman)
  • The Corn is Green (Emlyn Williams)

 

1968 - 1969

  • The Odd Couple (Neil Simon)
  • A Thousand Clowns (Herb Gardner)
  • Carnival! (Bob Merrill & Michael Stewart)
  • Macy's Bright Star (Margaret Fawcett)
  • Cactus Flower (Abe Burroughs)

 

1967 - 1968

  • Barefoot in the Park (Neil Simon)
  • The Potting Shed (Graham Greene)
  • Juno and the Paycock (Sean O'Casey)
  • Philadelphia, Here l Come! (Brian Friel)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams)
  • The Man from Salem (Robert D. Wilson)
  • Halfway Up the Tree (Peter Ustinov)

 

1966 - 1967

  • Born Yesterday (Garson Kanin)
  • Three One Acts by Thornton Wilder: The Long Christmas Dinner, Queens of France, the Happy Journey to Trenton and Camden
  • Black Chiffon (Lesley Storm)
  • The Mousetrap (Agatha Christie)
  • The China Trade (Margaret Fawcett)
  • The Man From Salem (Robert D. Wilson)
  • Four One Acts (Arthur Schnitzler, Eugene O'Neill, Thornton Wilder & Sean O'Casey)

 

1965 - 1966

  • Thieves' Carnival (Jean Anouilh)
  • A Man for All Seasons (Robert Bolt)
  • The Emperor's New Clothes (Charlotte Chorpenning)

 

1964 - 1965

  • The Fan (Carlo Goldoni)
  • The Private Ear and the Public Eye (Peter Shaffer)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams)

 

1963 - 1964

  • Rain (John Colton & Clemence Randolph)
  • The Pleasure of His Company (Samuel Taylor & Cornelia Otis Skinner)
  • Ladies in Retirement (Edward Perry & Reginald Denham)

 

1962 - 1963

  • She Stoops to Conquer (Oliver Goldsmith)
  • The Innocents (William Archibald)
  • The Fantasticks (Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt)

 

1961 - 1962

  • Liliom (Ferenc Molnar)
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (George S. Kaufman & Moss Hart)
  • Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit (Jean Cocteau & Darius Milhaud)
  • Androcles and the Lion (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Blithe Spirit (Noel Coward)

 

1960 - 1961

  • The Servant of Two Masters (Carlo Goldoni)
  • Comic Strip (George Panetta)
  • The Diary of Anne Frank (Frances Goodrich & Albert Hackett)
  • Brigadoon (Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe)

 

1959 - 1960- No Productions

 

1958 - 1959

  • The Teahouse of the August Moon (John Patrick)
  • Pygmalion (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Separate Tables (Terence Rattigan)
  • The Matchmaker (Thornton Wilder)

 

1957 - 1958

  • The Mikado (William Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan)
  • I Remember Mama (John Van Druten)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (Agatha Christie)
  • Our Town (Thornton Wilder)

 

1956 - 1957

  • Heaven Can Wait (Harry Segall)
  • Dial M for Murder (Frederick Knott)
  • The White Steed (Paul Vincent Carroll)
  • An Italian Straw Hat (Eugene Labiche & M. Marc-Michel)