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Taking flight for Neverland

Theatre lovers are invited to take a trip to Neverland next week, with Elmira District Secondary School’s production of Peter and Wendy.

Drama teacher DJ Carroll says he has wanted to do the show for a few years, and when his students pushed for a musical as this year’s school production, he knew it was time.

The show tells the traditional Peter Pan story, but with a few extras, he says.

“This actually focuses more on the relationship between Peter and Wendy. There is a lot more emphasis on what the two of them are going through,” said Carroll, but the audience can expect to see some favourite characters as well. “Of course, we will have Captain Hook versus Peter, the Lost Boys versus the pirates. There will be lots of fairies too. It stays very true to the original story, but it has a few little modern twists to it, which is great.”

The stage sets keep with the modern twist theme of the show, with one set acting as the background for the entire production.

“We are doing a modular set. It starts off as a nursery, then they go to Neverland, it is just about bringing in a few extra things to turn the nursery into Neverland. Then it gets transformed into the pirate ship, then it is the lagoon,” said Carroll. “It is a very minimal set, yet all the pieces move. That is what we were going for, is this just the kids sleeping in the nursery the whole time, having a dream. Or did this really happen?”

Ben Martin as Michael, Simon Zenker as John, Maddie McCormick as Wendy and Krista Quinn as Tinkerbell look on as Captain Hook (Jared Wallis) and Peter Pan (Hadley Moustakas) fight for Neverland in EDSS’ production of Peter and Wendy.[Liz Bevan / The Observer]
Ben Martin as Michael, Simon Zenker as John, Maddie McCormick as Wendy and Krista Quinn as Tinkerbell look on as Captain Hook (Jared Wallis) and Peter Pan (Hadley Moustakas) fight for Neverland in EDSS’ production of Peter and Wendy. [Liz Bevan / The Observer]
Rehearsals have been hard work with this year’s addition of singing and dancing to the school’s annual production. Former EDSS student Cassie Bauman came back to give actors and singers a hand with the vocal side of things, while teacher Pam Germann took over choreography.

“Now, it is all about tying it together into one piece. The kids are doing great. The music adds a whole other layer,” said Carroll.

The Peter Pan story is usually set around Christmastime, and while not a Christmas story by itself, Carroll says the show really brings out themes surrounding the holiday season.

“I really think our ultimate goal is that we want people to walk out of the theatre feeling very happy. That is the underlying score, thinking happy thoughts and everything in the show, we just want people to have fun,” he said. “There is that feeling of family, and even though it isn’t traditionally a Christmas story, it definitely has that feeling to it – being with family and that kind of thing.”

The students are putting together four showings of Peter and Wendy, with opening night on Dec. 1 at EDSS at 7:30 p.m. There are additional shows on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $5 for kids, $7 for students and seniors, or $10 for adults. The Saturday matinee show has a special at $15 for a family pass.

Tickets can be purchased from members of the cast and crew, at the school, or at the box office just before the curtain goes up.

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