“Peter and the Starcatcher”- A Journey Backstage


Photo by Jessica Escovy

Theater students rehearse for the 2021 production of “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

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On October 14, curtains will rise to unveil a glimmering world of magic, whimsy, and stardust in Studio VII’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher.” The crowd will be transported to Neverland and mesmerized by a sea of adventure in this prequel to the beloved “Peter Pan.” Yet, the sets, costumes, and hours of rehearsals tell a story almost as creative and magical as the play itself.

 In years past, the theatre department has done productions of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” among several others. This year, the decision to perform “Peter and the Starcatcher” bloomed out of the rough patch created by Covid-19. The theatre community decided on the theme of “reimagine” for people to hold onto in times of uncertainty.

“‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is all about imagining what’s possible,” Julia Carrington, director of acting, said. “It’s the story of how Peter Pan came to be. We’ll ask our audience to reimagine the story – the origin story. The characters themselves reimagine who they want to be, like Peter Pan.”

Cast auditions brought out a group of talented and committed students excited to bring the characters to life. One of the auditioning tasks was to perform a one minute fantasy monologue using a prop in a unique way.

“Our actors, when they were choosing their props, were very mindful, and they picked things that would have a lot of symbolism and meaning behind it or be creative or comedic, depending on the monologue that they chose,” Carrington said. “That’s what I wanted to see in their auditions -who could step into that challenge and embrace it.”  

Centering the action is sophomore Will Wozny, who is enthusiastically diving into the lead role of Peter. He has been preparing for this part since June 2021, and he has watched his character thoroughly evolve from the once disliked boy he started off as.

“I think this is a really interesting role because I feel being somebody that somebody hates is kind of a hard role for me,” Wozny said. 

The play entails a tear-jerking scene at an orphanage in which Peter is longing and dreaming about a family. It is sure to pull on the audience’s heartstrings, as it certainly did for Wozny. 

“[I was] thinking about if I didn’t have a family and didn’t have the love and support, where would I be?” Wozny said. “So [I] put myself in his shoes, and then seeing that family, I realize how fortunate [it is] that I’m here.” 

As assistant technical director, junior Jelena Stojanovic designs the sets in multiple scales (known as drafting), takes care of finances for the set, and works alongside the technical director, Mr. Heerssen. 

“I am thrilled that my drafts came to life, and now I see my work visually in 3D on stage, which is such a proud and happy feeling for me,” Stojanovic said. 

The costume and makeup department, another key part of the process, holds the characters together on stage through their artistic vision and creative freedom.  Costumes are carefully sought out through old costume rooms, online shops, stores, or simply sewn together. Throughout the play, several inspired pieces were added to symbolize the nature of the settings and scenery.

“My favorite costume is the Teacher,” junior Ritika Singh, head of costume and makeup, said. “She’s a mermaid; she’s going to have around a 20 foot long tail.”

 All in all, the making of “Peter and the Starcatcher” has been a process completely built by the community, for the community.

“We probably would have minimum put in 80 hours,” Carrington said. “But it is a labor of love.”