Peter Pan can’t fly

Peter grounded; not by lack of pixie dust, but by lack of money



The display for Peter and the Starcatcher next to the RB Alumni Lounge

Chloe Floros, Staff Reporter

When you think of Peter Pan, the first thing that comes to mind might be that feeling of magic and wonder, especially when you remember that he can soar through the sky. But, what would Peter Pan be like without his ability to fly? In Riverside Brookfield High School’s rendition of Peter and the Starcatcher–which premieres on Thursday, November 7–Peter Pan will not be able to fly due to a lack of funding.

Although Peter and the Starcatcher features some of the same characters that are in Peter Pan, they are not the same story. The play, Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the 2004 novel, Peter and the Starcatcher written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The play is a prequel to Peter Pan and provides a backstory for Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Mrs. Darling, and Tinkerbell.

In the play, junior Haley Rayfield plays Molly, a leading role, along with senior Beckett Nolan as Peter Pan. Rayfield is disappointed that the fly rail operators won’t be available to fly people for the show. Despite this, Rayfield says the theater department hasn’t given up all hope on having people fly during the show.

“We’re still working on a way to have Peter and Molly ‘fly,’ but it’s definitely going to be a bit trickier. Most theater companies actually don’t use fly rails when they do this production. I’ve seen a lot of different ways people have gotten creative with it,” Rayfield said. 

In most high schools, when something needs to get cut, the fine arts are usually the first to go and sports are the last. This upsets a lot of people who are involved in the arts, such as band, choir, and theater. To Rayfield, this subject isn’t just about the fly rails, but also about how the administration handles funding towards the arts.

“The reason this is really important to me isn’t specifically because of the fly rail, it’s more about the lack of respect for the arts, specifically theater, in the RB community. All of our money comes from ticket sales and fundraisers. We don’t get any funding outside of that,” Rayfield said. “The biggest reason I wanted to take action when I heard about this was because I wanted theater to get as much support and respect as sports and other clubs. We’ve definitely come a long way since the program was completely cut years ago, but there’s definitely so much more improvement to be done.”

Nolan plays Peter Pan, one of the main roles in Peter and the Starcatcher. He is very excited to have a chance to play such an important role. Although he does not believe the play will change drastically without having Peter Pan fly, he thinks flight would have added a special element to the production.

“In my opinion, the play has this huge lead up to Peter flying at the end. I was super excited that we were able to get this opportunity. The theater department has always had an issue with funding from our school, so I was not surprised when we found out we wouldn’t get the money,” Nolan said. 

So now, the big question is, will the play still feel magical and hold the same amount of wonder even though Peter Pan won’t be able to use one of his trademark abilities?

One of the big parts of plays like Alice in Wonderland and Peter and the Starcatcher is the magic aspect. The play, without Peter Pan being able to fly, might lack a certain feeling of enchantment, and some of the wonders of Neverland might be lost due to Peter Pan not having some of his magic.

Despite this issue, I think the play will be amazing, and I am very excited to see it come together and be performed.