In “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan,” Peter is self-absorbed and delusional, Tinkerbell is foul-mouthed and jealous and Captain Hook has issues with women. The P45 Theater Company staged this twisted version of Peter Pan at the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City in August.
The plot of “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan” is basically the same as the original. This new version was written in 2003. It’s by Philip Klapperich – a Chicago playwright. In the Peter Pan we know and love, Peter refuses to grow up because it’s just too much fun to be a kid. In this darker version, Peter refuses to grow up because he has deep psychological problems. He’s selfish and ego-driven and unwilling to face the responsibilities of becoming an adult. And a co-dependent Tinkerbell becomes Peter’s enabler.
There are funny moments in the play but it’s pretty intense and at times poignant. In one scene, Tinkerbell urges Peter to remain a child for as long as he likes. Justin Perez plays Peter Pan and Jody Burns plays Tinkerbell.
The director is Michael Norton. His production emphasizes the safe and secure feeling of being young and the destruction of that security by early injustices and mistreatment.
Michael says, "We've all grown up. We've all started in this state of infinite youth and what we talked a lot about is the power that comes with that youth: You believed yourself to be a powerful, unique being especially in America. We're really brought up learning that lesson and then when you are dealt that first unfairness it just sinks so deep."
Wendy is very sweet and innocent in the original story. And Wendy is a good example of the unexpected arcs these characters have.
Katharine Mangold plays her and she said that Wendy does start out very light and pure in the play.
Katherine says, "You know, we meet her first and it's all very 'oh my goodness, this is just so exciting, oh my God, Peter Pan!' and by the end her voice is grounded, it's real communication, it's real, uh, it's womanly and earthy and grown."
P45 presents “The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan” through Saturday, August 25 at the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City. Curatin times are at 7 p.m.