“Peter and the Starcatcher”

The Smith College Department of Theatre presents Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice February 28, 29, March 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m. and March 7 at 2 p.m. in the Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre. The play, which is adapted from the children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and features music by Wayne Barker, is a prequel to Peter Pan that upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be “The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up.” From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, the play explores the depths of greed and despair... and the bonds of friendship, duty and love.

Playwright Rick Elice was drawn to J.M. Barrie’s classic tale from an early age. “When I was a boy, I wished I could fly, and the notion of being a boy forever was pure delight,” Elice says. “No homework, no chores, no responsibility, no sorrow. Now that I’m in the middle of my life, I understand what I’d have missed had I never grown up, or fallen in love, or stood my ground, or lost a battle—or written a play.” Peter and the Starcatcher explores these themes in a fast-paced, irreverent, touching, and funny theatrical experience. The cast of 10 play a variety of roles—including sailors, naval officers, pirates, orphans, mermaids, a plucky girl—and take the audience on a journey that shows how a nameless boy becomes Peter Pan. Along the way they encounter a secret treasure, a crocodile, mollusks, prawns, and a flying cat.

Director Cathy Kennedy ’20 explains why she chose the Tony Award-winning play, “I'm incredibly fascinated with storytelling—what storytelling is and why we do it and why it's such an intrinsic human instinct.” She adds, “I'm also in a place in my life right now (and I know that most if not all of the people working on this show are as well) where I spend a lot of my time thinking about what it means to be an adult and how I am on the verge of being a Real Adult.” The Smith production frames the play around a group of childhood friends meeting as adults in their local bar to tell each other this story that they've grown up with. The concept is not unlike the design team of seniors—Priscilla Yichen Zhou, sets; Sasha Belcher, lights; and Nancy Gregory, costumes—who have bonded over 4 years of Smith theatre productions and grew up with the Dave Barry and Ridley Scott book Peter and the Starcatchers. “Designing costumes and puppets for this play is literally a dream come true,” says Nancy, echoing the enthusiasm of many on the cast and crew.

Above all, Peter and the Starcatcher is a story of adventure and friendship that thrills audiences of all ages. The play is recommended to children ages 10 and up. And while this is not the same story that Disney made famous, it is appropriate for most children and loved by almost every adult. To accommodate family audiences, the final performance on Saturday, March 7 is a matinee with a 2 p.m. curtain. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students/seniors, and free for Smith students. Read more information and purchase tickets online.