Never Give Up Neverland

Never Give Up Neverland

‘Peter Pan’ encourages journey through imagination


“Something that really hit me when I was reading the play and the book [‘Peter Pan’] was this message — with good thoughts and fairy dust, we can travel to Neverland,” says Trike Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director Kassie Misiewicz of how she came to choose the script for the company’s newest show. “Having kids that are 11 and 13, it made me wonder — what is their Neverland? When do they use their imaginations to fight pirates and swim with mermaids? It really made me start to wonder, how do we help our young people put down their devices and tablets and, with a little fairy dust, go to Neverland? That question really resonated with me.”

Misiewicz says the enduring charm of the show — which first premiered on stage in 1904 and has been the subject of myriad stage, screen and literary adaptations and versions — can be chalked up to the sense of nostalgia it engenders in both children and their parents.

“At some point, Wendy makes the choice to grow up and come back [from Neverland],” she says. “I think for a lot of our kids, they have that moment of, ‘I don’t want to grow up — it’s scary, there are a lot of responsibilities.’ It’s very emotional. And we want to let our kids know that it will be OK.”

Trike is moving into its second year of producing mainstage shows at the Walton Arts Center’s Starr Theater.

“The nice thing is that we get to be in there for two weeks of performances,” says Misiewicz. “There are 20 school shows that are already sold out and eight public shows — and those tickets are going fast. It validates our understanding that our community wants this and wants more of this. So as we look to grow and expand our programming and our presence in Northwest Arkansas, we’re taking our cues from our community.”

In “Peter Pan” — as in all of Trike’s shows — the casting is age appropriate and is a blend of professional theater artists and young actors from the community.

“We have eight kids in each cast, so 16 kids total,” says Misiewicz, who says that the young actors “have a lot of experience, which is great. The cool thing is that some of them have worked with us before, but Ian has just moved here from New York, [and] Peyton and Wyatt have done shows with Arts Live. The cool thing with all of the shows and training they’ve had is that they’re coming to us with resumes probably longer than mine! The opportunities for our youth to get that stage experience is incredible, and, over the last 10 years, there have been more and more opportunities.”

Misiewicz says the script Trike will be using is an adaptation of “Peter Pan” by Douglas Irvine who, like J.M. Barrie, is Scottish.

“I love the way he writes, I love the way he brings Shakespeare references in,” enthuses Misiewicz. “He writes for really good actors, and that’s the quality of writing I look for. He’s a really good storyteller who treats his actors with respect and gives them really good, meaty, complicated characters. We get to have fun playing them.”

The limitations of a black box theater mean that some of the special effects audiences have come to expect when seeing productions of “Peter Pan” on stage will be absent — for example, Peter and the other children in the play won’t actually be flying. But, says Misiewicz, that’s perfect for her concept of the show, which emphasizes the need to use our imaginations in a world taken over by technology.

“It’s not the Disney version,” she cautions. For example, Tinkerbell is a light. “We are in a partnership with our audiences where we’re asking them to use their imaginations to go with us to Neverland.”



‘Peter Pan’

WHEN — 7 p.m. Nov. 2-3 and 9-10; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Nov. 3 & 10

WHERE — Starr Theater at the Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St. in Fayetteville

COST — $9-$15

INFO — 443-5600

Categories: Family Friendly