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The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan

a Comedy/Drama
by Phillip C. Klapperich

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Out of Box Theatre at Artisan Resource Center [WEBSITE]
ID# 4616

SHOWING : July 18, 2014 - August 02, 2014



"The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan" is an adult retelling of the classic children’s story that delves into the dark-side of J.M. Barrie and walks a terrifying tightrope between cradle and grave. It investigates what it actually means to grow up: why would we want to and what are we missing if we do not?

Enter the obliviously self-absorbed mind of Peter Pan as he struggles in a world filled with sexual tension from Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinker Bell, a self-absorbed pirate who might just be his father, and an ever-present and annoying Freud-like psychologist. Peter Pan stubbornly resists adulthood not because childhood brims with such innocent joy, but because he’s terrified of the responsibilities and disappointments inherent to growing up. Will he realize, before it’s it’s too late, that he has hurt or destroyed those who truly love him?

Executive Director Christopher Dills takes the helm as director, set, lighting and costume designer and much, much more. Out of Box Artistic Director Carolyn Choe explains, “Christopher teaches at Davidson School for the Fine Arts in Augusta and most of the year he is only able to design and get up our sets up before he has to head back to school.” Dills’ set design for the show includes moving the audience to the four corners of the theater, allowing the play to take place all around them. The cast uses a variety of set pieces to bring the play to life, including parachutes, trunks, flashlights, puppets and pool noodles.

One important thing to know is that this production is not for children. "The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan" includes strong adult language and situations and does not include Cathy Rigby.

Director Christopher Shane Dills
Peter Pan Kody Brown
Tiger Lily Lauren Coleman
Wendy Rachael Endrizzi
Slightly Soiled Max Flick
Mr. Darling/Pirate/Nibs Aaron Goodson
Smee Sam Higgins-King
Tootles R. Clay Johnson
The Doctor Jennifer Lee
Hook Bob Smith
Tinker Bell Chelsea Steverson
Twin Emily Tyrybon
Mrs. Darling/Curly/Pirate Jacquelyn Wyer
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Peter Pan and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Play
by playgoer
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Phillip C. Klapperich’s "The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan" tells the well-known J.M. Barrie tale of Peter Pan, with the addition of a psychoanalyst who butts in at various point and the overt sexualization of Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, and (to a lesser extent) Wendy. It’s a very odd mixture of very serious adult intent and extremely silly children’s theatre.

For this show, director Christopher S. Dills has reconfigured the Out of Box space to have audience on either side of a playing space that sits in the middle of the auditorium and takes up the full width of the room. There is no set. There are two light poles on either side of the playing area, and members of the cast come in before the start of the show and start decorating the black floor of the playing space with puerile sidewalk chalk drawings. During the course of the play, action smudges most of the drawings, perhaps to symbolize how adulthood slowly erases the bright colors of childhood.

Either I picked the very worst seat in the house, or this configuration of the theatre has severe limitations. Mr. Dills’ blocking had many scenes played with the speaking character presenting his/her back to me the entire time. Speech was indecipherable when an actor was facing away or obscured by another actor and speaking softly. I barely understood anything Lauren Coleman said as Tiger Lily (misspelled as "Tiger Lilly" at one spot in the program, which is the sort of thing that happens too frequently in Out of Box programs).

The Lost Boys and Captain Hooks’ pirate crew are played as the sort of buffoons that one would expect in children’s theatre, with over-confident, over-energetic performances. When a little snark is added, as in the performance of Sam Higgins-King as Smee, this quickly becomes grating. Large portions of the script (particularly in act one) come across as "Peter Pan" performed for three-year-olds. This becomes tiresome, as do the ramblings of the psychiatrist who is analyzing Peter Pan and attempting to force him to remember his mother, all the while constructing a psychological framework to describe the messiness of a child’s mind and contrast it to the orderly adult mind.

I can’t say that any of the actors give bad performances. They seem to have given the director what he wanted. It’s not their fault that what the director wanted has limited appeal to an adult audience. I found it singularly unengaging, but it was clear that the actors were working well together, particularly in the performance I saw, in which one of the actors was out, with her roles parceled out to others.

There was one section of the play I enjoyed, near the end of act one. In it, the Lost Boys trained hand-held flashlights on one another and spoke memories of their mothers. Their acting style took on an air of believability that was otherwise missing in their characters. In other scenes, the hand-held flashlights and LED lights could be blinding from certain angles.

If you love the story of "Peter Pan" and want to explore its psychological underpinnings, you might want to wait for NBC TV’s live broadcast of the musical "Peter Pan" in December and look up "puer aeternus" in a psychological textbook. You’ll probably get more out of that than attending "The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan."


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