Many people know the famous story of Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up, but Mainstage Theatre’s newest production brings the iconic character’s origin story to life.
Mainstage — made up of students from R.A. Long and Mark Morris high schools, as well as a few adults — will perform “Peter and the Starcatcher.” It is a play filled with magic, dastardly pirates and a large helping of humor.
“It’s a really, really nice introduction to Peter Pan, and it brings a lot of things together that I didn’t realize,” said Madeline Cooper, a senior at R.A. Long who plays Molly Aster.
In “Starcatcher,” Lord Aster and his daughter, Molly, are trying to transport a trunk filled with magical dust to the far-off land of Rundoon. When a gang of pirates attack (led by the evil Black Stache) attack the ship, it sets off a race across the open sea to get to their destination. Along the way, they receive help from an orphan boy named Peter and the magical dust creates some interesting developments in their journey.
Peter is played by R.A. Long senior Miles Gilchrist, who said “Starcatcher” is his first-ever show. He described the play as “funny and upbeat,” but also “inspiring.”
Mainstage director Susan Donahue said she decided to have the students perform “Starcatcher” after seeing it live.
“I knew that it had been on Broadway not too long ago, and that people really liked it, so I went to see it because all of the other theater teachers I talked to were like, ‘You have to go see this,’ ” she said. “There’s just these moments that take your breath away, and the next moment, you’re just hysterical.”
Although productions of a Peter Pan-related show traditionally would feature the titular protagonist flying around stage using strings or pulleys, Donahue said there will be flying, but not using an expensive mechanical system.
“The production is all about having the audience use their imaginations,” she said. “It’s not a fancy production where we’ve hired a company from Vegas to set up a flight system for us so people can actually be in harnesses and fly around. We have to be pretty creative about how we do it.”
Still, Madeline said audiences should eat up “Starcatcher.”
“It’s heartwarming; it’ll make everyone smile. By the end of it, you’ll either be crying or smiling, maybe a little bit of both.”
Mark Morris sophomore Ethan Radcliffe, who plays Black Stache, said “Starcatcher” will provide more than enough excitement and swashbuckling.
“You don’t need the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies, you’ve got to come see this,” he said.