Preview: 'Peter Pan' bursts with childlike imagination


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When Theatreworks USA presents "Peter Pan" at six locations today through next Sunday to open Pittsburgh International Children's Theater's 2013-14 Family Series, the audience will be treated to a somewhat complicated but enjoyable presentation by six young adults.

"Part of what's fun is to watch young adults play children who are playing adults, which is really fun to say," said David Schecter, the director of this version of "Peter Pan." Theatreworks USA's production of the historic play is based on John Caird and Trevor Nunn's adaptation of "Peter Pan" or "The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up," which the men developed for the Royal Shakespeare Company in London in 1982.

Theatreworks' "Peter Pan" has a distinct difference from Royal Shakespeare Company's.


'Peter Pan'

Presented by: Pittsburgh International Children's Theater.

When, where: 2 p.m. today, Byham Theater, Downtown; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Penn Hills High School; 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Marshall Middle School; 7 p.m. Friday, Hopewell High School; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Mt. Lebanon High School; 2 p.m. next Sunday, Seneca Valley Senior High School, Jackson, Butler County.

Tickets: $9 for subscribers, $9.50 for nonsubscribers in advance; $11 at door.

Information: www.TrustArts.org/kids, 412- 456-6666.


"Their adaptation had 30 or so actors. Ours has six people," Mr. Schecter said. "We've refocused and adapted. As a director, I made the vision. It's in a Victorian attic, and it's a bunch of kids who are probably cousins who rush up there at night to play. They use all the objects in the attic to create the story. For example, when they're creating the crocodile, they use a pair of snowshoes and badminton racquets."

The snowshoes are used to create the crocodile's mouth, the racquets are its eyes and a sheet is used for its body. The children's creativity is used for other stories, too.

"It's all about imagination," Mr. Schecter explained. "They're using their imagination to create the world. The kids become the different characters, including Peter Pan."

The play is appropriate for children 3 up to 12, as well as for adults, he said.

"It's beautiful, and it does something that only theater can do: Use the audience's imagination."

Presenter Pittsburgh International, a division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, explains it "opens the door for children to experience professional performing arts programming" during The Family Series.

After "Peter Pan," performances in The Family Series include "Time for Fun," Nov. 17-24; "Stuck," Jan. 12-19, 2014; "Teacher From the Black Lagoon," Feb. 16-24; "Junie B. Jones," March 13-15; and season series-special "Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch," April 11-12. The last two plays will be staged at Byham Theater. The others will be at various venues.

theater

Pohla Smith: psmith@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1228. First Published October 19, 2013 8:00 PM


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