By Alex Owens
The story of “Peter Pan” has hooked audiences for generations, but now the Helix High School Drama Department is giving La Mesa’s theater-lovers a peak at how the boy who never grew up came to be that way.
“Peter and the Starcatcher,” which runs April 24-27 at the Helix Mainstage Theater, was written in 2004 as a sort-of prequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic 1904 play and provides backstories for characters like Peter, his trusty sidekick Tinker Bell and the seafarer who would become known as Captain Hook.
Drama teacher Paul Reams, who is directing the production, said “Peter and the Starcatcher” is to the original “Peter Pan” what the hit musical “Wicked” was to “The Wizard of Oz.”
“They’re both new versions of old stories and another look at a familiar property,” Reams said.
Besides being a new look at familiar characters, Reams said there were numerous reasons why the play is a good fit for the Highland Players.
“I like to do recent plays that have a versatile cast size and non-gender-specific roles,” Reams said.
Case in point: The title role of Peter will be played on alternative nights by a male and a female.
“Newer plays provide opportunities to do a lot of creative things with the production,” Reams said. “Most people haven’t seen the show so they don’t have preconceived notions of how it’s supposed to be.”
Although the familiarity of the characters provides an entry path for audiences, Reams said the story takes place at a time before they’ve truly become the versions of themselves known to theatergoers.
For instance, Captain Hook is not yet Captain Hook, but an aspiring evil pirate known as “Black Stache.”
“Also, this play explores the circumstances in Peter’s life that make him want to be a boy forever,” Reams said.
For more information, check out bit.ly/2v4YUZR.
Tickets for the show cost $10 for non-students and $8 for ASB card holders. They can be purchased at bit.ly/2IiWWxu.
— Alex Owens is a freelance writer living in La Mesa.