Keep Childhood Alive with PETER PAN: A Musical Adventure

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on April 26, 2013

“What a wonderful education my children are getting,” said Mrs. Harty, mother of Connor and Dallas, who are both playing Michael in Peter Pan, “having them raised by pirates, Captain Hook, Scrooge, Peter Pan, Bob Cratchit, Nephew Fred and Lost Boys as well.” What a compliment! If only to live up to it …

A mistake in rehearsal often brings a quick and thoughtless expletive. But once a child is within hearing range, an uncommon self-censorship takes over, often referred to as a “merde detector.” When a parent learns of my concern, often I hear, “Oh, well, they’ve heard worse at home.” Maybe. But not here, I hope.

Last Saturday during class, Addisyn Bryant was awarded the Jr. “Monte” award for her young professional attitude and work ethic. At one time or another, she has played all of the Cratchit children in A Christmas Carol, except Peter. But when it came time to cast Peter in Romeo & Juliet, I had originally left her out, since my Juliet (Hannah Church) was so very small, and Addisyn is very mature for her age and would be difficult to disguise as a boy. But as fate would have it, I needed to recant and request her participation. Addisyn more than participated; she organized the other young people playing Peter so that I would have at least two at every rehearsal and one at each performance.

Peter flies, and so do the darling Darling children. It’s magic! I wish not to ruin the sleight of hand, but to be offstage and see the Lost Boys/pirates jump, swing, run, pull and tug to make possible the secret of flying (which is to never land), reminds me of Victor Hugo and the bell ringer at Notre Dame (though there is not one Quasimodo among them, handsome and talented lads all, with great careers ahead).

In the pre-performance chaos, little kindnesses mean a lot. Two very important identical bottles are needed. Not glass, for glass breaks and Indians are barefoot. Not large either, since they must be easily pocketed. I was early to yoga one morning and thought, “What could I lose? Just maybe at Walgreens I could buy …” But no. Alyssa Dyce at the drive-thru window listened to my need and offered me two plastic brown pocket-sized bottles for free and wished me well. I’ve found what seems to be easy turns out to be difficult, and just the reverse is equally true. Thank you, Ms. Dyce.

We are all lost in some way. And, sadly, we grow up. But those of us fortunate enough to keep that small piece of childhood alive and well inside our hearts revel in the story of Pan conquering the evil captain with the large, imposing hook. As Peter Pan says, “I am youth, I am freedom, I am truth.” Peter Pan flies Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm through May 18, with a 2pm matinee this Saturday.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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