A note from the playwright of PETER AND THE STARCATCHER

I stood in the back of the theater today when you all came to see Peter and the Starcatcher. You were amazing, and I thought I’d join the actors afterwards onstage, but I’m so used to standing in the dark, that I got too shy to join the cast. That’s what writers do when we’re not writing- we stand in the dark and it’s hard to step out of the shadows once the play belongs to the actors and the audience. I totally dug the fact that you saw Peter as a hero (of course), but that you also got that Molly is the hero, too. As a guy, I definitely wanted to try to make it equal – and, in fact, Molly is so smart and strong and active in the story, that none of it would happen, if not for her and her strength of will. But I was still too shy to say that to so many people out loud, from the stage of a Broadway theater.
There was a moment when I did want to grab the mike, though. And that was when somebody asked why Peter didn’t fly. One of the actors made a joke and that was that. But here’s what I wanted to say.

Peter does fly, and you all saw it happen, even though it only lasts for a second. Here’s what I wrote in the script: “Peter falls down and down into a grotto, into a pool of golden water.” Then the directors decided how to do it. Peter would climb the ladder and jump off, into a fireman net held by the rest of the cast. It’s such a great way to finish Peter’s fall. And that’s what you saw. And when Peter jumps off the top of that ladder, he is flying. There’s no wires holding him, there’s no trick. It’s a human body in flight, until he lands in the net.

And let me tell you, no actor in the world is gonna do that right off the bat. It happened over a series of rehearsals that went like this: He started just falling over standing on the stage. Then he went up one step, then two steps. The other guys had to figure out how to hold the net and how to stand so they don’t drop the guy when he hits the net. Then Peter went up three steps, then four. Then the others re-adjusted, and the stage managers were standing right there in case anyone got hurt. Then the guys picked a safe word that they could use in case something was wrong, so Peter wouldn’t jump and risk being hurt or worse dropped. Then he went up six steps and tried it, and then finally, he stood at the top of the ladder, and he jumped. And everyone else caught him. After that, they rehearsed the jump every day, to get it in their skins.

And now, in every performance of the play, like I said, a boy actually, for a fleeting moment, flies through the air and is caught by ten other people. First time, in any version of Peter Pan, or in anything for that matter, that you see a person really fly.

The best part is, the actor couldn’t do it, and wouldn’t do it, if he didn’t know the other guys would be there for him. So it’s not just flying. It’s trusting. It’s understanding that you’re part of something bigger than yourself, and the other guys are looking out for you. So it’s kind of like, in that one moment, you see what the whole play is about for Peter – being part of something bigger than yourself. That’s why the directors are brilliant. That’s why it’s my favorite magical moment in the show. Because the magic isn’t a trick. It’s a philosophy of life that’s at the very heart of the play.

Before every show, they practice the jump, so it’s always safe. And during each performance, I know that, if you can just let yourself imagine a little bit, you will see a boy fly. How cool is that?

And now, I’ll go back into the shadows where writers live, and get ready to watch them do it all again. That’s what I love about the theater. You get to do it all over again. And again.

Keep coming to the theater! It’s the best place in the world, where anything is possible.

– Rick Elice (shy author)

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