Ross invites audiences to discover their own Peter Pan in ‘The Lost Boys’
Published: Sunday, December 4, 2011
Updated: Monday, December 5, 2011 09:12
Clad in pajamas, men in the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater sat before the sickly green set walls. Two played cards while another flipped through a newspaper, an oxygen tank at his side. On Dec. 1, the theater was renovated into a retirement home.
Many of us are familiar with Peter Pan. But at "The Lost Boys," Theatreworks' latest production, the boys are men who hobble about the stage with canes, walkers and wheelchairs.
Murray Ross, director and artistic director for Theatreworks, adapted the play from J.M. Barrie's novel "Peter and Wendy."
"I think it's a great book…There are few masterpieces in children's literature. And, when they're masterpieces, they're masterpieces, period," said Ross.
When asked how he decided on the peculiar setting for "The Lost Boys," Ross poked fun at his own age but also mentioned his long-lasting relationships with the actors, particularly those who play the Lost Boys and Captain Hook.
He referred to the show as the "perfect vehicle" for them. "I've been working with these boys who have never grown up for a long time and I thought, ‘Well, why don't we just put them in Peter Pan?'"
Not only is Wendy (Mallory Hybl) the only young person in the show, but she is also the only character presented in a traditional light.
Meanwhile, Peter Pan (Khris Lewin) dons green scrubs and Captain Hook (Robert Rais), while he does enjoy a grand entrance and wardrobe, has his ship scaled down to a hospital bed.
Hook's hungry stalker crocodile is a worker (Kathy Paradise), who also plays Nana the dog and sits down on a cleaning cart instead of climbing into a kennel.
Another worker (Susan Dawn Carson) finds the story of Peter Pan at the retirement home and narrates the show with its pages.
Ross noted that every word read is from Barrie, which makes the stage adaptation "as closest to the original as [we're] going to get," as opposed to the cartoon.
The narrator also personifies Tinkerbell, which further compliments the fairy's flickering lights and high-pitched gibberish.
Although she is cleverly incorporated throughout the show, the narrator's presence sometimes hinders the show's pacing. She had to interrupt some of the other actors so she could throw in a needless, "he said" or "he cried."
The narrator's lines and those of the other characters sometimes overlapped because of the taglines, so words were lost in the process. Although distracting, the occasional interruption did not damper the fun.
As a dance sequence in the second act demonstrates, much of the humor in the show is rooted in the contrast between the older actors and their childish behavior.
But if you find that grown men acting like boys is a mindless concept, then Ross may venture to disagree.
"Almost everybody I know has a little bit of Peter Pan in them. Even if they do grow up, and you need to grow up, there's still a little Peter Pan in you," he said.
"There's still a lot of you that still wants to get out that window and fly away and fight pirates and run around with Redskins and carry on."
The Lost Boys
Dec. 8-10, 15-17, and 20-23 at 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.
Dec. 11 and 18 at 4 p.m.
Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater
Free for UCCS students
Children under 16: $15