Peter and the Starcatcher

By Ben Wolfson
11th Grade, Hunter College High School


Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to Peter Pan, begins in an Oliver-Twistesque Britain where three 13-year-old boys (one is Peter) sail on The Neverland to a far off island. On the ship, they are be­friended by an inquisitive girl, Molly, who has a penchant for adventure and a secret that she’s bursting to share.

The actors are used in very creative ways. At one point, they stand in a line facing away from the audience and act as doors — when Molly “opens” one, we see what is happening in that room. Later in the play, the same actors that play the pirates sing a shanty while dressed in mermaid costumes (complete with bikinis). Molly’s nanny Ms. Bum­brake (played by a man) and Alf, a sailor, end up wooing the audience with their unique romantic antics.

Another refreshing piece of theatre workmanship was the clever manipulation of the fourth wall (the symbolic barrier between the audi­ence and the actors on stage). Audience participation is always engaging and adds a critical dimension to the play — whether it’s being asked to imagine cats flying or to ignore bits of dialogue.

Why would a teenager ever want see this “kids” show? When Peter says his last good­bye to Molly and tells her that he will never grow up, the adult in me was unable to stop the pity I felt for him. As a teen, too often I see plays about the horror and pain of growing up. However, in Peter and the Starcatcher, the last goodbye shows the bittersweet dullness of staying young forever.

TICKETS: thru 4/17 • $25 student tix • NYTW, 79 E. 4th St. website

3 comments

  • Interesting comment above, I might read that book.

    But you should note that this is the play, not the book which you dispute. You might want to see it and judge it differently, by medium and interpretation.

    Reply
  • The problem with this series is that Peter Pan already has a backstory as per his creator, J.M. Barrie. The Barry/Pearson novels have a ton of mistakes in them, so many that one has to wonder if they even read Barrie. It’s not just fact-checking. They change personalities as well as the very reason Pan doesn’t grow up! How can they be so disrespectful to classic literature let alone another author? List of Differences
    There is a faithful continuation of Pan’s adventures, based on Barrie’s own idea for more: Click!
    And a great ‘What if?’ story (but it’s not for the kids!): Click!
    BELIEVE!

    Reply

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