The very name “Peter Pan” conjures up images of a boy who will never grow up.
In J.M. Barrie’s 1904 classic, that’s exactly what Peter Pan is -- a mischievous little boy who refuses to grow up. Instead, he spends his time as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, on the mythical island of Never Neverland.
Peter Pan has grown in one sense, though. He’s grown beyond his status as a fictional character to remind all of us what we’ve had to give up to become an adult -- the sense of fantasy and adventure that can only be found in the paradise of childhood.
But is adulthood really so terrible? Playwright Christopher Soucy decided to take a look at one of the most important characters in the Peter Pan books, plays and movies -- Wendy Darling, who was lured from her window to visit Never Neverland. What happened to Wendy after she went home?
Soucy shows us in his play Forgetting Peter Pan: The Further Adventures of Wendy Darling, which is being staged by the City of Savannah Cultural Arts Theatre on May 13, 14, 20 and 23 at 3 p.m.
After returning home, Soucy says Wendy went on the greatest adventure of all. She grew up and experieced life.
Soucy is directing the production of his play. “The show focuses on the adult Wendy Darling and her daughter, Jane,” he says. “It is a tale about remembering childhood adventures and other things people might forget.”
Some aspects of the play are drawn from Barrie’s book, but others are original with Soucy. “You can’t remember Neverland if you grow up, but Wendy did,” he says.
One of the rules of Neverland is that adults cannot go there. “Neverland comes to her,” Soucy says. “She is visited by Tinkerbelle, Tiger Lily and Captain Hook.”
It’s no accident that the only adults who live in Neverland are pirates. Children sometimes -- or perhaps often? -- view adults as villains.
In Soucy’s play, Wendy still remembers every detail of every adventure she had in Neverland. “This play is about reliving your hopeful self, your young dreams,” Soucy says.
While the play is a City Kids Production, adults will enjoy it, too. “It’s primarily a family show,” Soucy says. “There is nothing controversial in it. The subject matter is based on a children’s book, but it will appeal to all ages.”
The 11 cast members have been rehearsing for four weeks. “It’s a very challenging piece,” Soucy says. “There are a lot of aspects to it. For one, it takes place in London.”
Soucy says his cast is up to the challenge. “All the actors are wonderful,” he says. “They are working hard. There are four adults in the cast, three who are college-age and teenagers and two children.”
For the past four years, Soucy has worked as the City of Savannah Department of Cultural Affairs Theater Specialist. Before that, he handled the department’s touring shows.
“I first moved here 15 years ago,” Soucy says. “From that time, I have worked with local theater companies.
The city has always been part of my job. This is the fifth show I’ve written for the Black Box Theatre.”
In some of those productions, Soucy has tackled the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Mark Twain. “I like to take works of literature and portray them in a way that does not replicate the story,” he says.
“There is so much wonder and great wisdom in those books,” Soucy says. “Hopefully, these plays will inspire people to want to read them.”
There are many reasons to see Forgetting Peter Pan: The Further Adventures of Wendy Darling, Soucy says. “It’s wonderful escapism,” he says. “There are thrilling sword fights. And who doesn’t like Captain Hook?”
The City of Savannah Cultural Arts Theatre presents Forgetting Peter Pan: The Further Adventures of Wendy Darling on May 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 3 p.m. at the Black Box Theatre at S.P.A.C.E., 9 W Henry St. To reserve tickets, call 651-6782 or 651-6783.
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