Boy--later to be called Peter Pan-- (Brad Arlitt) and Molly (Islay McKechnie) in CLT's  Christmas show, Peter & the Starcatcher

Boy–later to be called Peter Pan– (Brad Arlitt) and Molly (Islay McKechnie) in CLT’s Christmas show, Peter & the Starcatcher

Did you ever wonder how Peter Pan came to be? Courtenay Little Theatre will let you in on the secret when they present the Tony-winning, musical play, Peter and the Starcatcher. Find out how an orphan becomes Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, in a wildly theatrical adaptation of the best-selling Peter and the Starcatcher novel series. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, this rollicking adventure playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty, and love. Perfect for the whole family!

 

The show has a distinctly personal connection for the director, Lori Mazey. She says, “I have always loved the story of Peter Pan. When I was in grade four, my class went on a field trip to see a production of Peter Pan at Puntledge Park Elementary and that is the first time I remember thinking that theatre was something I desperately wanted to do. I have been doing it ever since! Peter Pan is magical and full of adventure and wonderful characters. That’s what I love about Peter and the Starcatcher as well; it is a story that recaptures the magic of the imagination with adventures and a tale of friendships, courage and terrific characters.”

 

Peter and the Starcatcher, based on the 2006 novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, adapted for the stage by Rick Elice, provides a backstory for the character Peter Pan, and serves as a prequel to J. M. Barrie‘s Peter and Wendy. The novel, Peter and the Starcatchers, is one of a series which explores the world created by JM Barrie and tells of an adventure on the high seas and on the faraway Mollusk Island. The job of a “starcatcher” is to collect the dust left behind by stars that fall from the sky; it is a highly important job because the dust possesses a tremendous power that would be dangerous if it were to fall into the wrong hands.

At the beginning of the show – Boy- who will later become Peter Pan- is a nameless and friendless 13-year-old orphan, who deeply mistrusts adults. He is a neglected child, to the point of never having seen the sun, who is sold along with 2 other orphans and sent on a boat to be a slave to a faraway king.

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But things change for the boy when he and the other orphans meet Molly – a mysterious girl who happens to be a starcatcher apprentice – aboard the same boat. The group joins together to overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a magical secret safe and save the world from evil. Villains include the scary but somehow familiar “Black Stache” and the ferocious crocodile Mister Grin. Along the way, Peter’s adventures in Peter and the Starcatcher allow him to find the hero within himself and to take on the name worthy of the legend he becomes.

 

Mazey explains, “I saw a production of the show in New York and I remember thinking when I saw it that it would make a TERRIFIC Christmas show for CLT. I love the tradition here in the Comox Valley of families being able to see theatre together during the holidays. This is a really fun and unique show that celebrates the magic that theatre can be! You get to find out how Peter Pan, Captain Hook, the Lost Boys, and Neverland came to be. It also explains that Peter Pan does not end up at Wendy’s windowsill completely by chance. In addition, Molly is a wonderful and strong girl character who is as much a part of the adventure as the boys. I think that is important for young girls watching in the audience.”

 

It is also a play that has layers that make it a wonderful show for both adults and children. Ben Brantley of the New York Times agreed, when he wrote of the play, “With grown-up theatrical savvy and a child’s wonder at what it can achieve, Peter and the Starcatcher floats right through the ceiling of the physical limits imposed by a three-dimensional stage.” With the award winning director, Lori Mazey, at the helm supported by the huge amount of creative talent she has gathered in her production team, CLT’s holiday production promises to be an exciting evening of wonderful entertainment.

 

Peter and the Starcatcher, presented by Courtenay Little Theatre, runs at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay from Dec. 26th to 31st. Tickets are on sale now and are selling quickly. Order in person at the Sid Williams Ticket Centre 442 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay, by phone at (250) 338-2430 ext. 1 or online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com. Individual tickets are $22 for 7:30 pm evening shows Dec. 27th to 31st, $20 for the Dec. 26th 2 pm matinee or 6 tickets for the price of 5 if you order a Flexpass. There is a special early family New Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31st after the show. Live theatre is a terrific Christmas experience!