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
By Ben Wolfson