Swashbuckling high seas adventure, pirates, mermaids, magic “starstuff”, and covert missions for the Queen comprise the secret recipe for hilarity and adventure when Peter and the Starcatcher plays at the BlueShore Financial Centre at Capilano University between November 16 and 25. It’s an epic origin story about one of the most cherished mythical characters of all time. The production is presented by the Exit 22 Theatre Company.
This wildly adventurous prequel to Peter Pan, based on the 2004 novel by humorist Dave Barry and suspense writer Ridley Pearson and adapted for the stage by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Addams Family), won 5 Tony Awards.
I talked with the musical director and one of the actors about the show.
Kevin Michael Cripps – Musical Director
What is the music in this show like? What are some of the challenges?
Peter and the Starcatcher is really a play with music…or rather a play underscored by percussion and piano. And then BAM! A couple giant numbers. (One that ends act one and one that starts act two) Starcatcher is a beautifully creative piece of theatre that draws a lot of its inspiration from the great British Pantomime tradition. It uses music that is reminiscent of the old British Music Hall and somehow bends it a little to feel like a silent film score. We’ve made the choice to have the cast play the percussion parts in this production. Its been a lot of fun incorporating the use of percussion instruments into the story telling of this show. As for some of the challenges: Generally, this is a complicated and multileveled show. Every turn and bend has a million details. All shows do really, but this one has the added complexity of tracking who is playing what percussion instrument when and where and how many actors are available to drum and who knows how to do snare rolls etc. The challenge has been fun!
What makes this a good show for the musical theatre students?
(Exit 22 is our production company at large and the shows are open to all of our students)
This cast is largely made up of our Acting for Stage and Screen students. There are only 3 musical theatre students in this cast. If the question is “What makes this a good show for your students”, I would say: I think the exploration of style is truly a gift and a wonderful learning experience for our students. Its unlike most of the work that many of them do. As this cast is largely made of of stage and screen students, they are learning about a style very different from film. This is much larger, grander even more opulent than anything most of them have ever done before. In addition to that, this has been an excellent case study of comedic timing, tempo and rhythm. These students have risen to the challenge and are loving every minute of it!
What is your current favourite part of the show?
Oh no…its so hard to choose! This is one of those shows that when you’re telling your friends about it, each story starts or ends with “this is my favourite part of the show…”! The writing is SO clever. Every line has been crafted and sculpted into a little masterpiece. I hang on to pretty much every word that the flamboyant and fabulous Blackstache (Captain Hook in the making) has to say! “Perchance you think a treasure trunk sans treasure has my piratical BVD’s in a twist…” I love it! I also love that in the face of all the quick paced humour, that there is a touching story of a boy that has has a pretty unforgiving life that just wants to be “a boy” for a while.
What is the audience going to experience?
I had the great pleasure of Music Directing a production of Starcatcher at the Arts Club did in 2015. The audience clung to every beat of the show. They loved the wit and charm of it all as well as the heart. I think our audiences will feel the same. Although, the tale of how a Peter Pan came to be seems like it might be a children’s story, Starcatcher offers the adult adult audience a reminder of childhood dreams, what fun we had in the world of make believe and creative play, and that inside each of us there is a child that needs a little attention from time to time. This is a fun and fast show with scenes that make the audience crave the next and the next. Oh, and in case the story of Peter Pan has every left you with questions…Peter and the Starcatcher is sure to answer them all.
Braeden Saucy – Actor
What is your training at Cap like – how long and what type of classes?
I’m currently about halfway through my 3rd and final year in Capilano University’s Acting for Stage and Screen Program. Our training is wonderfully diverse. We get a chance to experience theatre, film, voiceover, motion capture, singing, dancing, and more. It’s a really hands-on program that fully immerses you into the world of acting and performance.
Tell us a little about your character.
I play Black Stache, a villainous pirate with a reputation far smaller than his ego. Stache is a larger than life kind of guy, who fancies himself not only as a pirate, but also a poet. He’s full of rhymes, insults, quick quips, and hunger for infamy. Not to mention his surprisingly tasteful fashion sense.
What has been the best part of working on this show? What has been the biggest challenge?
Rehearsing for the show has been nothing but fun. It’s not a Peter and the Starcatcher rehearsal if you haven’t found yourself laughing, playing, and discovering something new. Our set alone feels like a big playground, with towers to climb, ramps to run up, and trunks to ride. It makes it pretty easy to harness your inner child. Playing Stache has also been a real treat, as the character has such an animated persona and such brilliantly written dialogue.
As far as challenges go, Peter and the Starcatcher is a quick-paced and action packed show, where the entire cast remains on stage for most of the show. As such, we have to work hard as an ensemble keep up with each other, and stay focussed and connected. I’ve been so impressed with our ensemble for their dedication to perfecting every moment. It’s really turned into a patchwork of everyone’s creative ideas.
What do you think the audience going to remember most?
Audiences are going to love Peter and the Starcatcher for its sense of play and wonder. It’s the kind of play that transports you into a new world full of imagination and surprises. I can guarantee some laughter, excitement, and perhaps even a few tears. There is truly never a dull moment.
Directed by Gillian Barber, with Set Design by Heidi Wilkinson, Costume Design by Charlotte Burke, Lighting Design by Bryan Kenney and Sound Design by Liam Hunt.
Peter and the Starcatcher
Cap Theatre – The BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts at Capilano University
Nov. 16 (preview), Nov. 17 (opening night), Nov. 18 and Nov. 22-25 at 8pm
Nov. 19 and 25 at 2pm
Tickets: $22 | $15 | $10 at capilanou.ca/blueshorefinancialcentre/
and by phone: 604-990-7810
Fabulist Theatre presents a stage reading of Dim Sum Diaries by Mark Leiren-Young on Monday November 27th. Originally produced in 1991 for CBC Morningside, the controversial radio play explores various perspectives regarding the influx of immigrants from Hong Kong coming to Vancouver.
Five talented performers will take on this remarkably relevant play as you enjoy a dinner of dim sum at Vancouver’s popular Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant.Starring Stephanie Cho as Jenny, Mark Ferns as Brian, Damon Bradley Jang as Ray, Karen McNee as Karen and R.G. Miller* as Robert.
Doors open at 6:00pm, with dinner served and the show beginning at 6:30pm. A talkback session will follow the performance.Ticket price ($50) includes the reading, talkback, a full dim sum dinner, tea, gratuity, processing fees, and a take-home gift bag. (Alcoholic beverages are not included in the ticket price). Special guests will be in attendance.
The Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant is located at 1132 East Hastings Street. There is free parking.Tickets can be purchased online at dimsumdiaries.brownpapertickets.com.
DAVID C JONES