This weekend, Bellarmine’s fall production of Peter and the Starcatcher opens. Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the 2006 novel of a similar name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, serving as a prequel to the well-known Peter Pan character: detailing the origins of Peter’s powers, how he and the rest of the Lost Boys ended up in Neverland, and how Captain Hook lost his hand.
Traditionally, Bellarmine performs a drama in the fall season, but due to the rights of the play recently being released, the theatre department decided to produce this piece instead. Mr. Marcel, the director, said, “It was my turn to direct the fall play and I told everyone, I really want to do this play. It’s perfect for Bellarmine. It’s fun for everyone, not only the students on stage and techies backstage but the audience as well.”
The play utilizes what is called Poor Theatre style. In it, actors are on stage for most of the play allowing for the ensemble to establish a strong stage presence. Many of the actors are taking on multiple characters. For example, Conor Linehan ’17 plays Sanchez, sailor, pirate, mollusk, piano, and ukulele. Roles extend beyond the traditional character: every actor is involved heavily within the narration even if they are not speaking. They would become part of the set like a door or waves in the ocean.
For David DeRuiter ’19, who plays the comedic villain Black Stache, this play serves as a dream come true. He said, “I always wanted to work with Mr. Marcel since I had foundations with him freshman year. He was really good as a teacher in foundations and I wanted to know more about his directing style. I’ve really enjoyed working with Mr. Marcel and he’s an excellent director.”
As an origin story for the boy who never grows up, the play has found a deep connection with the actors of the production. Jack Jensen ’17 who plays the titular character feels a kindred spirit in his character. “Peter Pan has always been a part of my life,” he said. “I loved the movies as a child so playing his origins on stage is an awesome experience for me.”
Conor Linehan sees the story as a lesson that he’s living every day: Peter Pan and his entourage of Lost Boys are the personification of endless childhood and the struggle to grow up. “Especially being a senior, it strikes close to home. It’s about a bunch of kids trying not to grow up and senior year with college apps it’s resonated with me,” he said. “It really makes you think about what it means to be kid and grow up.”
The set itself reflects this idea. Set Designer Keo Lacebal ’17 said, “The show is very much told in a way children play. I wanted to create a set a child could possibly play on as if it came from the mind of a child. It’s very haphazard, sort of put together that shows a lot of love but not a lot of knowledge on how to construct materials.”
During the first act, the set was designed to feel cramped, representing the oppression of the adults while the second act’s set was designed to inspire a feeling of cartoon-ish play. The building of the set also utilizes a lot of re-purposed or reusable wood in accordance with this year’s Justice Summit on sustainability.
Peter and the Starcatcher plays at 7:30 pm on October 28, 29 and November 3, 4, and 5. Also, catch the 2:00 pm matinee on October 30. Tickets are available online.