Summit High School performs ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ for spring theater production
Summit High School’s performing arts department proudly presents its spring theatrical production of “Peter and the Starcatcher,” with performances through Sunday. The play is a prequel to the legendary story of the never-aging Peter Pan, and features swashbuckling adventure with a charming cast of characters.
The play, written by Rick Elice, is based on the 2004 novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It explains the backstory of the familiar characters Peter Pan (before he becomes the kid who flies and never grows up) and Captain Hook (before he got his hook, and referred to in the play as the dreaded pirate Black Stache) as they clash from Victorian England to the seas and in the jungle over magical “starstuff” that gives those exposed to it magical powers, including flight.
Travis Avery, Summit High’s athletics and activities director, said he sees school productions of plays like this are an important space for teens to examine their talents.
“It’s a great opportunity for different students,” Avery said. “Athletics isn’t for everybody, and theater is a great opportunity for kids to explore who they are, make different connections and get out on stage, or be part of the crew and fill different roles. If there’s a potential professional trajectory, it also gives them an opportunity to nurture and grow that talent.”
Christopher Alleman, artistic director for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, directs the school’s spring production. Alleman directs in a voluntary capacity, continuing 16 years of collaboration between Summit High and the Lake Dillon Theatre Company.
Alleman said he chose the play for the variety of characters and innate fun that comes with stories involving pirates, the high seas, magic and sword fights.
“It’s a fun theatrical piece that the actors get to play multiple characters,” Alleman said. “After auditions we saw all the talent that we had, and thought this would be a good, fun family-friendly show to do for the community.”
Alleman noted that the main theme of the play is friendship and loyalty.
“The biggest thing is friendship, about how this group of children rally around each other and stand up for each other, and became their own family unit,” Alleman said.
The cast features 11 actors playing an array of roles, with nine crewmembers managing the stage, lighting and sound.
Junior Lidia Scadzinski, in her third SHS theatrical production, plays female lead and “starcatcher” Molly Aster, who teams up with Peter to save the starstuff from getting into the wrong hands.
“I like having fun with the character. She’s a really bossy, sassy character, and curious about things,” Scadzinski said. “She’s really smart, and she’s not afraid of anything. She’s a fun character and very energetic.”
Senior Brianna Bolcato, in her fifth SHS production, plays Smee, the bawdy, energetic sidekick to Black Stache.
“Smee’s such a goofy character, I get to say stuff I would never get to say in real life, so it’s pretty fun,” Bolcato said, adding that her comrades in the theater department have been a big part of why she’s stepped up to perform in five productions. “I enjoy the people, especially. I’m definitely mostly here because I enjoy the people.”
David Walters, a junior, is stage-managing the production. This will be his third production on the technical crew, and as stage manager he’s got the most important job behind the scenes.
“This is probably one of the most exciting shows I’ve been a part of,” Walters said. “In this production, the biggest challenge has been the low number of crew. There’s a lot I have to do between set changes, as well as dealing with the lights and stuff.”
Unexpected issues such as how hot the lights can get on stage, as well as how the crew operating spotlights in the rafters can’t hear what’s being said on stage, are the kinds of things Walters must problem-solve around.
“The people running the spotlight can’t hear us, so I’ll feed them lines and keep them on the right page, and I’m also trying to get some booklights up there so they can read the script better,” Walters said.
Freshman Kaya Caton plays the titular Peter Pan. Caton said he loved the character’s energy, and how he grows as a person throughout the play.
“I like portraying that youthful spirit, and showing the character development from rude little orphan to titular character,” Caton said.
Caton, a self-described perfectionist, has been rehearsing his lines two to three hours a day for the past three months to prepare for the role. Caton said he aspires to be a professional actor, and this stage has presented a great launching pad.
While it’s a tough role in his second high school production, Caton said his fellow theater buddies make it a fun experience.
“It’s been amazing,” Caton said. “Everyone is amazing, and they are so nice. Some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.”
Senior Ian Anderson will be playing the brash, manic, evil Black Stache in what will be his final theatrical production at Summit High. The production is his sixth and by far one he has enjoyed the most.
“It’s quite fun to be so bad,” Anderson said.
“It’s about being evil, and it’s so fun being able to use my dark evil voice,” he continued as he lowered his voice to a low growl, “and embody the character that is so much fun. Along with that, I get to sword fight, who doesn’t like a good sword fight?”
Anderson hopes to continue performing after he graduates, even if it is as a side activity.
“I love acting, it’s very fun,” Anderson said. “At the very least, I think I can do it as a hobby or get a side job as a voice actor. Acting wouldn’t be much of a step from that, and I hope that’s something I can continue to do.”
Along with his castmates, Anderson also beamed about his time in the school’s theater group.
“It’s so much fun,” Anderson said. “It’s like a family you get to hang out with. Along with that, you also get to be someone else for a little while and have a bit of fun getting away from reality. I suppose it’s the same reason people go to the movies, but you get to be one of the actors.”
Summit High’s presentation of “Peter and the Starcatcher” is for all ages and will be showing at the Summit High School auditorium on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for all other guests. For more information, call 970-368-1100.
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