“When I was a boy, I wished I could fly, and the idea of being a boy forever was a pure delight… no homework, no chores and no responsibilities. Now that I am at the middle of my life, I understand what I would have missed had I never grown up. J.M Barrie, the author of Peter Pan found his character by embracing the notion of never growing up, I found mine by realizing I had.”
These are the words of Rick Elice, the playwright to “Peter and The Starcatcher”, the play the Gainesville Theatre Alliance will be performing from April 11-22 at the Ed Cabell Theater.
“Peter and The Starcatcher” is an extension of the story of Peter Pan. It is the story we know as children being told to us as adults.
“It’s an adult play, with adult language and adult imagery,” said GTA Artistic and Managing Director Jim Hammond.
There are a few characters audience members will recognize. The leading lady is Wendy’s mother as a child, there are orphan boys who are forever lost, a very hungry crocodile and of course, a nameless boy who will soon become Peter Pan.
“’Peter and the Starcatcher’ is a story for adults, even though it connects to the experiences we have as a child,” Hammond said. “In doing so, you are going to get caught in emotional moments that you didn’t anticipate.
The characters will be set on multiple ships, in a jungle and in the water. With all these elaborate settings, the resident scenic designer, Stuart Beaman, tried to create an environment that allows the actors and audience to create their own scenery through their imagination.
“The work really relies on the actors and the characters,” Beaman said. “I tried to give the actors just enough to allow that imagination to kind of start and then they work out the problems and challenges with their imagination.”
This play requires the characters to climb ropes and mountains, walk through the jungle and travel through the bows of the ships to the decks, but Beaman decided not to build those platforms.
“We needed to keep it minimal and let the audience be delighted by the actor’s imagination,” Beaman said.
Along with the imagination of the audience and actors, costumes have a large part in helping the story along.
“The actors are very physical and they are telling the story through minimal scenery and costumes,” costume designer Sydney Roberts said. “The actors needed complete freedom of storytelling and there is nothing to take away from that.”
Just as the props are minimal, the costumes are very simple, so all the attention is on the actors and the scene they are laying out for the audience. The costumes combine modern style with nautical pieces from long ago.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is not a musical, but there is live music playing throughout the show, as well as pre-recorded music and sound effects. Some of the actors in the play even play instruments during the show.
The show sold out last week, two weeks before the opening night, but GTA has released their shows for the 2017-2018 season. For more information on future shows, visit the GTA website.