Thursday, April 24, 2008


Peter Pan has more moving parts than any other production I’ve ever been tangentially connected to. In college, I pulled cable for some concerts with elaborate sets and fancy lighting but that was all for a band of 4 to 6 people. Pan has monster sets, cables for flying effects, scads of costumes and all for a cast of something like 58 (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but between the Lost Boys, the Indians, and the Pirates – there are a lot of bodies wandering around backstage at the Empire).

I remember having the thought when the Mill did “Joseph” recently that some part of a director’s job with a production like this is the role of traffic cop. They just gotta keep people moving and hopefully in purposeful and aesthetically pleasing ways. With Pan, I’ve had more of the sense of director as architect on the scene of a large building project. He or she has got to have the big picture design in their mind and they work with a big crew to get that sucker built.

With Pan, director Steve Perigard has quite an amazing crew working with him. I haven’t seen or met all of them but I’ve been impressed with choreographer Leslie Owens-Harrington and production manager Ginnie Willard. These are the unsung heroes of a production like this, bringing order to chaos and, particularly with Ginnie, making sure the 597 things add up that make up one big show.

Rehearsals are now going late into the night, some folks seem to be getting tense, others are just exhausted. It’s enough to make one wonder why anyone does this for a living or, with many of them, for fun. I expect when the curtain falls at the end of the opening night performance tomorrow, I’ll get a glimpse of at least one of the reasons.


Anonymous said...

We cannot wait to read your or your fellow writers for STYLE WEEKLY's "unbiased" review of this show. Cool beans!


Dave T said...

It's pretty clearly established that I could not be unbiased about this production. I will certainly be writing about it however, but probably only for blog consumption and probably not in any way that would be truly 'review-like.' I wouldn't want to pre-empt the thoughts of any of my critical compatriots!

Anonymous said...

Funny story about the theatre business courtsey of the late great Paul Scofield:

Paul Scofield gets in a train. Man: "You're Paul Scofield, aren't
you?" Paul (reluctantly): "Yes." Man: "I'm a bit of an actor
myself." Paul: "Oh really?" Man: "Yes." PAUSE. Man: "Why do we do
it, Paul?"

"Why do we do it, Paul?" has become a catch phrase at AGL when things get tense or go wrong...

Peter Brook says the art of directing consists in moving people on and off the stage...if only it were so simple.

I was the fight director for the last production of Peter Pan 100 years ago and I have fond memories. I wish Steve, Ford and the entire company nothing but smooth sailing to Never Never Land!

Dave- I was also at your daddy to be dinner for the before the arrival of the little Timberline who is in this production I believe...Good Gods I am getting old!!!


Dave T said...

Great line from Scofield. And seems like a better tension breaker then, say, biting a child's head off, which I could forsee as a possibility with all of the kids running around in Pan.

I wish you could see that little Timberline fly sometime over the next several weeks, Rick. I think you'd be proud of him.