You’ve heard of Peter Pan, the Neverland boy who won’t grow up, but do you know the story of how he got his reputation?
Based on the books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and the Starcatcher” follows Peter, an orphan who is trying to figure out his place in the world while dealing with pirates, tyrants and greed, as well as friendship, duty and love. The play features live music and some songs, too.
Director Irina Zaurov was invited to spearhead the production through the Village Players reading committee, who also picked “Peter and the Starcatcher.” Zaurov is the creative director of the Sylvania Arts Youth Theatre Program, so the committee felt her experience with children would breathe special life into this production.
“It’s a show for each and every age,” Zaurov said. “It could be addressed to the children, it could be addressed to the adults and the rehearsal itself is like a kids production. They’re playing with the props set up on stage. They’re becoming children inside just to play their parts.”
The show’s age range goes from early teens to well over 60, creating an environment for the cast to feed off of each other’s strengths and envelop themselves in the whimsy.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” had a quick turnaround, contributing to the fast-paced bonding between the cast and crew. After auditions, there were two weeks of table reads to get acquainted with each other and the characters, followed by four weeks of rehearsals in the venue to get the staging right. During this time, actors were working with the costume department to get their fittings, as well as building the sets and collecting props.
“This had the addition of being a very large cast,” Brad Riker, the actor playing Mrs. Bumbrake, said. “When it’s only a three or four person cast, it’s much easier to get where you know where everything is. But you got 17 people moving around backstage and grabbing things and moving things constantly.”
All of the actors have school, jobs and even other productions outside of this show that render scheduling to be difficult. This production is unpaid for the actors, but rather encourages their participation because of their love of theater.
“This is amateur theater,” Riker said. “But you know what Amateur means: for the love of. We don’t get paid, but we love to do it.”
For fans of the original “Peter Pan” stories, too, this show has a lot to offer in terms of connecting the dots.
“Everyone knows Peter Pan, and they might come into this and be a little confused at first when they’re like, ‘This isn’t what we think we know,’” Lila Brighton, the actor playing Molly, said. “The little light bulbs are gonna start to go off and then at the end, you realize, ‘Oh, my gosh, now I understand a little bit better.’”
With close quarters and a short rehearsal period, the cast worked hard together to bring this production to life. Everyone is excited to show the public their hard work and the unleashing of their inner children, which is what they would encourage the audience to do, too.
“If you like a show that is so incredibly silly and entertaining for any age range, this is the show,” Jordan Mizerek, the actor playing Peter Pan, said. “It’s comedic, but it also tugs at your heartstrings, in a way.”
Though Zaurov also encourages everyone to come enjoy the show for the whimsy and origin story of a beloved character, her personal favorite part about the production has been watching the cast bring her vision to life through their joy.
“The best thing for me is when I see them have fun,” Zaurov said. “I see that they enjoy what they said, that they are laughing; it’s the best payback.”
Peter and the Starcatcher will run Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4 and Thursday June 8 through Sunday, June 11. For more information on times and pricing or to purchase tickets, visit thevillageplayers.org.