By the time members of Durango High School Troupe 1096 got on stage Wednesday to run through their newest production, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” they had not practiced for a week because of the holiday weekend and snow days.
From the rehearsal, you wouldn’t know it, however, for the cast ran through the entire show with only a few hiccups. Troupe 1096 will be staging the show for audiences March 1 through March 9.
“Peter and the Starcatcher” is a Tony Award-winning play and a best-selling novel that rewrites the tale of how a horribly mistreated orphan becomes Peter Pan. It’s a high-seas adventure packed with pirates, flying cats, mermaids and “starstuff” – a magical substance that comes from falling stars. It is the job of Starcatchers to keep the starstuff from falling into the wrong hands.
“I saw this play about four years ago and thought it was one of the most amazing theatrical experiences I’ve ever had,” said Director Ben Mattson. “The ingenious staging, the simplicity mixed with spectacle, the playfulness and spirit was almost overwhelming.”
Troupe 1096 has taken the creative staging and run with it: Cast members use ladders of various sizes to mimic not only different floors of ships, but being in a boat floating on a sea. They also use the orchestra pit as a convincing ocean.
“The show is intimidatingly simple and complex,” Mattson said. “It flies through colliding ships, mountain descents, flying cats, singing mermaids – all seamlessly flowing from one to the next, and created through ingenuity, imagination and stark simplicity. As the audience, you fall into the make-believe world 100 percent.”
And then there is the cast: The 17 actors tackle a score of roles while at the same time, manage the staging as well. As with the troupe’s production of “9 to 5,” troupe members make this look seamless.
Characters not to miss are Laura Clark as Molly Aster, the apprentice Starcatcher. Clark’s Molly is fearless and wants to become a full-fledged Starcatcher like her father, Lord Aster, played by Ethan Craig. Colson Parker and Dylan Baken, who are hilarious as the dreaded Captain Stache and his sidekick Smee. And Luke Nicholson as Peter gives the audience something to cheer for, despite his hopelessness and serious trust issues with adults.
Also, be sure to be back in your seat after intermission for the opening song of Act II.
For this production, when buying tickets online, there’s also an option to buy flowers for your favorite cast member – or members. For $20, you can buy a dozen roses (that you pick up at the show). Money collected will help qualifying actors attend the International Thespian Festival this summer.
It should be noted that this is a family-friendly show, so don’t be afraid to bring the kids, Mattson said.
“It’s a great show for families and children, and I wanted to create a magical experience the whole family could really love,” Mattson said. “It’s not a ‘kids’ show in the way that adults will feel disconnected. It’s a rare combination of elements that create a show for everyone.”