As Las Positas’ Campus transitions into on-campus classes and events, the Theater Department returns to perform consistent live shows during play season, beginning with their fall production of “Peter and The Starcatcher,” which follows the narrative of Peter Pan and his life prior to becoming the boy who never grows up.
The play, originally written by Rick Elice, is based on the book from authors Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. The story focuses on Peter Pan’s origin story and how he came to be a resident of Neverland island. This rendition, directed by Titian Lish, Theater Arts Department and Actors Conservatory Coordinator and Director for LPC Theater Arts, claims to be an exploration of “the depths of greed and despair,” along with a portrayal of “friendship, duty and love” according to its playbill.
Among the audience were proud parents and fellow college students met by anticipation as they walked through the doors of the main building and grabbed their seats. Despite the prohibition of food and drinks, many carry bags of treats, ready to watch the performance like children in a movie theater. As directors of the theater team scold friends and family for smuggling snacks in, cast members prepare backstage for a magical night. Soon enough, the red curtains crawled open and the music grew louder and louder.
After four pirates sung their opening tunes and showed the emergency exits, the lights above dimmed and the play began. The stage showcased two ships, both made with the slickest attention to detail. From weathered wood to stitched wind sails and knotted ropes, the set was resourceful and appropriate for a lost at sea plot. In similar nautical fashion, the lighting consisted of mossy greens, deep water blues and gold nugget yellows to match the setting.
Once the actors and actresses jumped out onto the ships, all heads turned to their costumes. Designed by Jennifer Gough, her vision was clearly every woman’s Jack Sparrow fantasy: Bunches of loose canvas fabric and brown fitted vests flooded the stage to bring the story to life. Everyone felt like they belonged together, and most importantly, were from the same book. As far as the makeup, some lower-class peasants were brushed with dirt while wealthier characters had royal coats and clean faces. While unfortunately the makeup doesn’t evolve as the play continues, all-in-all the physical aspects of the play were cohesive and well-done.
After watching the whole thing, it’s clear that Peter Pan and the Starcatcher was a refreshing take on a classic tale that we all know and love. With pop-culture references to the Titanic, Starbucks and cell phones, along with strong suggestive language about immigration politics, this play is bound to engage a wide variety of people. The theme displayed real-world problems such as class division and wealth gaps, making it relevant today despite being based in the Victorian era. Not to mention the greed of the antagonist Black Stache who chases riches throughout the play even though he’s already wealthy, which reflects present-day conflict with materialism and power consumption. Supporting characters in the production such as Prentiss and Ted played by Lysander Sahagun and Colin FitzMaurice portray the importance of support, while elements of innocent romance between the main stars Molly Aster and Peter, played by Marissa Ferreira and Matthew Bessiere offer more dimension to the plot.
To get into specifics, while some acting seemed forced, the overall performance was solid thanks to a couple of standout cast members. Mrs. Bumbrake, played by Stephanie Ann Foster, was vivid and made the story memorable. Likewise, Ferreira’s character captured the essence of a 13 year old naive kid. When it comes to the music, each song is exciting or moving and this is coming from someone who doesn’t put musicals at the top of their selection of genres. The crew is given two thumbs up and a thank you for not wasting my Saturday night! Until the next production, “Ta ta for now.”
Sophia Sipe is a writer for The Express. Follow her @SophiaSIpe