Theatre’s production Peter and the Starcatcher played from Thursday, Nov. 29 to Saturday, Dec. 1, with the highest turnout being closing night. It was the second out of the three fall shows Theatre will stage this season.
English teacher Jessica Speck selected the play Peter and the Starcatcher for her students, which was written by Rick Elice and debuted for the first time in 2009 on Broadway. The show provides a backstory on the character Peter Pan, and how he came to be an everlasting young boy in Neverland. With an inherent distrust for adults after the abandonment of his parents, Peter Pan, played by senior Sean Klein, is introduced as “Boy,” and endures 13 years of bitter loneliness.
Upon boarding the Neverland ship, he meets Molly Aster, played by senior Lisa Meyerovich, the daughter of Starcatcher Lord Leonard Aster, played by senior Justin Johnson, whose job during the play is to fulfill a secret mission dispatched by the Queen of England.
Molly, as she works to become an official Starcatcher, is assigned the responsibility of protecting cargo filled with magical “star stuff” from evil forces such as Captain Blackstache, who later becomes Captain Hook. Molly takes leadership of “Boy” and his two friends Ted, played by senior Robert Summers-Berger, and Prentiss, played by sophomore Ameya Deshmukh. Together they come across strange islands and even stranger people.
With the production of this comedy came challenges for both the cast and crew. With “Tech Week” immediately following Thanksgiving break, there was little time to assure small details, such as spotlight cues and changing places of actors and props, were on track for the displays of the final show. Technical Week occurs on the week of opening night and allows cast and crew members to finalize any plans designed to assure a smooth-running show. Crew began working on the play in mid September almost every day until 4:30 p.m.. That is, until the last two weeks leading up to the show, when cast and crew stays until 8 or 9:30 p.m.. The play also featured more props than the typical production at the school. “It’s a very challenging show for most departments as there are no major scene changes, so lighting, sound, and props have to convey a shift in any way they can,” senior and Stage Manager Emma Stern said.
During the actual show, mistakes do occur, however it is the crew’s ability to recover from them that determines the success of the performance. For instance, props rolled into the orchestra pit during the play and had to be retrieved and replaced by crew members mid-scene.
With every performance comes the task of auditioning, accurately memorizing and executing lines, and developing the confidence to sing, dance, speak, and adjust to technical difficulties before an audience. For this play, actors had to prepare a monologue and a portion of a song to present in front of a group of judges. Many of the actors in the play had to take on multiple roles and learn to speak in varying accents. “To be a performer, the only things you need is motivation for rehearsals, and yourself. With that, there is a lot of patience required since performers need to run scenes over and over again,” senior Laila Heydari said, who also played the role Teacher in the play.
Since Peter and the Starcatcher’s plot includes many magical elements, actors had to rely on their storytelling abilities to assist the audience in imagining certain scenarios such as a cat glowing or Molly floating in air.
While the production of a show proves to be arduous, it is worth it for the members to see their ideas and work come to fruition under the big lights on stage. “Stage crew really helped me develop as a person these past years and I am so thankful for the experiences I have had because of it. It’s not always a great time, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world,” Stern said.
The success of Peter and the Starcatcher has set the standard for the future of the school’s plays as being captivating and emotional displays of talent.