The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

Drama Students Bring Back Childhood Joy in “Peter and the StarCatcher”

Photos Courtesy Daniela Melgar

The MIHS Drama department did a captivating job of performing “Peter and the StarCatcher” on Feb. 3. Replete with adventure, nostalgia and humor, the Wasp cast made the characters’ journey a collective experience for both the actors and audience.

Rick Elice’s musical is the origin story of Peter Pan, following the voyage of starcatcher Molly Aster and her relationship with a scrappy orphan boy.

Amidst all the action, we watch a young boy’s transformation from being lost in feelings of abandonment to becoming a hero with a strong sense of community and purpose.

Coming together to tell a heartwarming story about how home as a physical space is transient by nature. However, the experience of home is something that you can cultivate through relationships or selfhood regardless of your past.

The cast’s execution of plot, paired with an impressive set design and direction combined to make a performance that immerses the audience— you laugh when Stache tries to intimidate Lady Astor, smile when Molly and Peter share a kiss and ache when Peter is lost at sea after the shipwreck.

“I directed the boxing scene and the ship breaking in half [which] was difficult to simulate with the movement and placements of actors,”  said student director and actor Caroline Thomson. “Although after watching the other cast perform the scenes I directed, I felt like I was a part of their imagination and it felt magical.”

Throughout the play, the actors’ occasional engagement with the viewers makes the experience all the more personal. Especially during the lively mermaid dancing scene, who charmed the audience with their shimmering tutu tails and colorful animated wigs.

“I wanted this play to be fun, sweet, and thoughtful for the audience. Student director Caroline Thompson had the students do physical exercises that helped the students discover a larger than life physicality, and we encouraged them to keep building on those discoveries throughout the rehearsal process,” said Danielle Melgar.

Aside from a handful of more modern puns that felt amiss considering the time period and a few too many flatulence jokes, the witty banter between characters was refreshing. The show had a distinct playfulness that offered a nice comedic escape with school boy humor and Captain Black Stache’s over the top personality.

I absolutely have to give a spotlight to Thompson, who tackles Slank and the Fighting Prawn with confidence, charisma, and an unwavering commitment to the act.

Throughout every role she plays in the show, Thompson gives her characters a mischievous spirit and killer shanty accent that enchants the audience to suspend their belief. It feels as though commanding on a ship is second nature to Thompson, and she embodies the nostalgic delinquency that we remember so often from childhood stories.

“It was easy to know what directions and movements felt right and what didn’t, because I felt like I was directing my character,” Thomson said. “I tried to gain perspective not only on an actor side, but with Slank, because it made it easier to bring this imaginary world to life”

Another honorable mention goes to MirMattia Ottaviani, who’s ability to execute and project lines (even when Stache would mispronounce words) was notable. From throwing up into a bucket, to the boxing match with Slank, to when he cut off his own hand in the trunk, Ottaviani embodies Stache‘s comical villainy wonderfully and performs the most enjoyable limb loss I’ve ever seen.

Ottaviani was well-supported by Carter Gwertzman’s characterization of Smee. I liked Gwertzmen’s bumbling nature and unwavering support of Stache’s leadership, and the two complimented each other’s performance well.

For this production, the set space was used effectively, with a design that established the setting while still leaving plenty to the imagination.

From a dingy overcast to a starry night to a sunlit jungle, the light work strung each scene together by emphasizing the mood of the scene and pulling the audience in with its realism. It was as if I was with Peter and Molly, listening to bedtime stories and running across Neverland.

I enjoyed how the play ended with the cast hoisting Peter up to represent him flying off into the future. The physical act emphasizes sentiments of community, and really hammers home the central themes of togetherness, belonging and identity.

The overall performance, costuming, and scenery imbues the audience with heartfelt curiosity. It is reminiscent of a childhood wonder that everyone is familiar with— giving the play a sentimental touch that is nothing short of enthralling.

It’s hard to find things I don’t like about “Peter Pan and the StarCatcher.” In terms of performances and set design this production stands as one of my personal favorites.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sandra Pedersen
Sandra Pedersen, Infographics Lead/Back page Editor
Sandra is a senior and this is her fourth year serving for the newspaper. In previous years, she has worked as a staff writer, senior writer, and A&E Editor. She is currently the Infographics Lead and Back Page Editor and is eager to see where this year will lead her. On her own time, Sandra loves exploring the outdoors, being with loved ones, making art, and eating pickled herring with Twombely.   

Comments (0)

All The MIHS Islander Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *