Before there was “Peter Pan,” there was “Peter and the Starcatcher” – the story of a boy who was not yet Pan, and the tale of his first interactions with pirates.
“It isn’t a children’s play but children will enjoy it. Adults will also,” said Director Joy Van Camp.
The play opened in the San Juan Community Theatre’s Gubleman room Friday, Oct. 13. The performance continues Oct. 14, and Thursdays through Saturdays Oct. 19-21 and Oct. 26-28 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sundays, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $21 for adults, $11 for students, and $5 student rush at the door. Thursdays are pay what you can, at the door. To purchase tickets visit, sjctheatre.org or call the box office at 360-378-3210.
The Gubelman room has a smaller stage, putting the nonstop action-packed performance right up close and personal to the audience.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” was written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, screenplay by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Baker. The story is set as a prequel to Peter Pan, Van Camp said, following Peter, and his friends, the lost boys, who as orphans are being shipped to a distant island ruled by an evil king. A young girl Molly, who happens to be training to be a starcatcher, discovers them and a trunk full of starstuff.
Starcatchers, Van Camp explains are people that understand starstuff.
“Starstuff is ‘sand’ that falls to earth daily from the stars. It is powerful magic and makes people what they want to be. Sometimes the results are surprising,” Van Camp said. She added that starcatchers quietly do their best to keep the magic star material out of the hands of those who would use it for ill. When the ship gets overtaken by pirates, Molly and her new friends have their jobs cut out for them to keep the stars enchanted sand out of the grasp of the buccaneers.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” came to Van Camps attention because he is a fan of Dave Barry. After seeing it had become an award-winning play, she discussed the possibilities with Bobby Ryan, the theater’s executive artistic director, and the stage was set.
This will be the third play Van Camp directed for the theater, each have been comedies.
“It has been a challenge fitting all this action into the intimate Gubelman setting, but it really works,” said Van Camp. “Small obstacles can stimulate creativity more than a wide-open vista of possibilities!”
The cast she noted works as an ensemble, meaning that it is a closely connected team that supports each other as necessary, almost to the point of improvisation. Then, there is the music. According to Van Camp, there will be a small band visible on stage, and characters will spontaneously burst into song.
While this fast-paced show is humorous, it also contains an important message. The theater describes it as thoughts on greed, despair, friendship and love. Director Van Camp sums it up slightly differently.
“The playwright highlights connectedness, how we maintain a strong personal identity while being intricately related to all the rest of living things,” she said.
For info, visit sjctheatre.org.