For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday
August 25, 2017
|Photo courtesy of Playwrights Horizons|
Sarah Ruhl states that she wrote For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday as a gift for her mother on her 70th birthday. Presently in previews at Playwrights Horizons, this play is a gift of opportunity to all of us to ponder the occurrences in life that we cannot turn back from. It is a chance to contemplate the circumstances that push us toward growing up, no matter our age. Les Waters directs an amazing ensemble cast, creating a close-knit family of five adult brothers and sisters who face and accept the death of their father. The script gives insight to each of their varied perspectives. It is a tender and intimate story.
Ann (played by Kathleen Chalfant), John (played by Daniel Jenkins), Michael (played by Keith Redding), Jim (played by David Chandler), and Wendy (played by Lisa Emery) surround their father (played by Ron Crawford) on his death bed. Time moves slowly until he finally lets go. The brothers and sisters meet back at their childhood home to reminisce and toast their father and the memory of their other departed loved ones. They realize they are now orphans. The only one who admits she has not grown up is Ann, who played Peter Pan in her youth. As they sleep in their childhood beds that night, the thought of flying off to Neverland overpowers them all.
|Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Jenkins, Keith Redding, & Lisa Emery|
Photo courtesy of Playwrights Horizons
In the program notes, Ms. Ruhl talks about how she structured this play after Japanese Noh drama. In part one the protagonist meets the ghost. In part two they recognize the ghost. In part three they embrace and dance with the ghost. Since the play is in three scenes, this structure is clearly defined. Being aware of it gives a deeper insight into the emotional and universal journey of the play. Each member of the cast builds distinctive characters who unite during this solemn occasion to face the challenges and the changes ahead.
For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday runs on Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theatre through October 1. It is Sarah Ruhl’s most personal play, and is touching on many levels.