By Emma Forshee
Upon entering the theater, audience members are handed a program and are invited to take a seat. A heavy, crimson curtain kisses the stage and a rickety ladder peeks out from the orchestra pit.
This show, written by Rick Elice, already has the quickly–filling room pulsating with excitement and child-like wonder before it even begins. An imaginative production, “Peter and the Starcatcher” allows the audience to rethink the original themes presented in “Peter Pan.”
The show is a chaotic mess and incredibly entertaining, but the ending brings the plaintive feelings of home and the reminder that life is short. The show allows audience members to feel young again and to relive the creativity and fun that comes with childhood.
The story centers around two ships: the Wasp and the Neverland and the comical switch up between two very distinctive trunks. Molly (senior Ava Dalton), a young and spunky leader, and Peter (senior Jon Pryor), a rebellious orphan, along with two amusing accomplices, Prentiss (freshman Remy Conwell) and Ted (junior Reagan Morrow), attempt to rescue the trunk full of magical star-stuff from the hands of the evil Captain Stache (freshman Heera Nair) in order to save the world. A myriad of other characters including pirates, mermaids, and the strange natives of Mollusk Island add comic relief and contribute to the general disorder of the show.
Even though the show seems complicated, it is simple at heart. Act 1, however, had the audience slightly confused as to what was happening. The set design mimics the interior of a tree fort adding to the sense of childlike imagination.
Alexis Breese, the new director of Bellbrook High School Theater, puts a lot of thought into set designs to make sure they reflect the overall mood of the production.
Breese is a former BHS student and has been acting on the Bellbrook stage since she was seven years old. After she graduated, she went on to be a show manager on Broadway for several years.
“Not the street, but Broadway Across America, which tours all the shows,” Breese said. After this extraordinary feat, Breese decided to bring her newfound experience back to her roots where she could help others achieve their dreams as well.
Breese intends to make a few changes to the theater program at BHS so that it is more accessible and inclusive to all students.
Act 2 was clearer and stirred up the feelings of love and loss, wonder and reality as the world was heroically saved and Molly reluctantly grew up. Here, the set design, full of plant-life and monsters, reflects a backyard and the exciting adventures that can happen there.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is more than the prequel to “Peter Pan” — it is a testament to creativity and curiosity. The stage, as well as the minimal costumes and set designs, demonstrate that imagination can spring from anywhere at any time.
The show’s success can be attributed to the fantastic actors and actresses and all the hard work they put into the production. From memorizing lines to set construction, the actors work tirelessly to make sure the final product is seamless. Hours are long and rehearsals abound, but the end result is amazing.
“I very much enjoy performing in the play,” actress Ava Dalton (Molly) said. “It’s very fun to see the comradery between the experienced actors and the newer freshman grow as the show develops.”
However, the actors and actresses aren’t the only ones who make this production a success. Director Alexis Breese also put thought into how to make the show an opportunity for growth as well as entertainment.
Now, Breese has a new vision for the theater program at BHS that will assist every individual in achieving growth and success. The buddy system, one of many modifications, is one way to make theater more accessible and inclusive for young actors. According to Breese, the buddy system allows every actor to have a partner so no one is left out and older, more experienced actors can help advise the new crop.
Breese aims to make the theater program more enjoyable and comprehensive. She wants it to be accessible to everyone and a positive opportunity for growth and learning.
“I ask for two things: fun and teamwork,” Breese said. “You can’t have one without the other because if someone’s not having fun then someone’s not doing teamwork.”
This attitude marks a new beginning for the theater program as mistakes are turned into learning experiences and each individual is given the opportunity for success.
And success is exactly what Breese plans to bring to the BHS theater department.