York Drama students begin the imaginative show collectively to set the scene for the audience

Photo by Helena Koczur

York Drama soars to new heights in fall play “Peter and the Starcatcher”

October 19, 2018

York Drama is reaching for the stars with a swashbuckling prequel that tells the story of how Peter became Pan. The magical comedy was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and York’s drama program is ecstatic to bring this inventive show to the Elmhurst community.

Photo courtesy of Helena Koczur
Senior David Hansen, Black Stache, and junior Matt Hauser, Lord Aster, perform a scene from the show at the drama fundraiser

After seeing the production together years ago, directors John Forsythe and Rebecca Marianetti knew they wanted to collaborate on this production.

“This is really a difficult show” Marianetti said. “Mr. Forsythe and I tend to take very different notes. We always agree on the end product, but our processes and the way our brains work often go in opposite directions. However, since we’ve worked together for years, we always end up complementing each other as opposed to pulling away.”

The directors have focused on implementing the techniques the students learned during the summer theatre conservatory. The conservatory is an evening summer school course open to all students. The actors in the advanced level of the program studied viewpoints, which are a medium for acting upon movement, gesture and creative space.

Photo courtesy of Helena Koczur
Junior Sean Solem, Peter, sings with local jazz quartet to raise funds for the show

“Theatre is the most collaborative art” Forsythe said.“this cast brings energy, creativity, and experience with viewpoints.”

In this physically demanding show, lots of creative movement is required as the story shifts from Portsmouth England, to a violent hurricane, to the depths of an island jungle. To accomplish this the actors have had to rely on their viewpoints training. Junior Emma McGreal described how viewpoints helped her embrace her character.

“During the second act I play a mollusk which requires a very different mindset,” McGreal said. “I’ve had to use a lot of physical viewpoints to make it not only believable but visually interesting. It also helps me interact with other characters in the show”

The show’s cast of 14 actors per night play over 100 characters. Some characters will be new to the audience, like the spunky young starcatcher Molly Aster and her father, as well as new sailors and pirates galore. However, the audience will recognize some familiar faces from the original Peter Pan story. One of these is the lovable Smee, played by freshman Owen Espinosa.

Photo courtesy of Helena Koczur
The attendees of the drama fundraiser applaud the performers.

“I like Smee because he’s just kind of goofy,” Espinosa said. “I don’t usually get to play goofy characters, I’m usually very serious. He’s so wacky and out there, and it’s odd to play such a big personality, but it’s a great new experience.”

While the cast has certainly played a large role in making this show come together, so much goes on behind the scenes to make the ideas of the directors come to life. The massive set turns the auditorium stage into the deck of a ship, with platforms up to eight feet, all beautifully hand painted. The tech crew has worked day and night to pull together the extensive set in just a few weeks.

“Many people have come over the course of the weeks, some for 15 minutes, some for seven hours or longer” crew member Brianna King said. “Any work helps, even if it’s a small job or a tedious job, they all matter in the end. Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t get to see this hard work, but it is very special to the cast and crew”

The beautiful set and the creativity of the actors, crew, and directors transform the auditorium stage into the magical world we know and love. Peter Pan is a story that has captured the imagination of audiences for generations, and “Peter and the Starcatcher” is every bit as magical as it is hilarious.

“People should come and see Starcatcher because it’s a hilarious and adventurous show,” senior Erin Lee said.“A lot of unanswered questions about Peter Pan will be answered and the cast and crew have worked so hard on the whole production.”

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