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What are your thoughts on Peter and the Starcatcher, or really all Peter Pan things? I can't find myself to get into them because it just seems TOO MUCH.
I am a giant “Peter Pan” nerd, I’m afraid. I was a big fan of the Disney movie when I was a kid – and then I fell in literal love with Jeremy Sumpter’s Peter. Then I read the original novel, which lead to the original play that predated it. Somewhere in there I saw about 6 stage adaptations and a couple more movies and miniseries and a TV series and some more books. So…I have lots of Peter Pan opinions. Especially about those hipster-y “Never grow up! Kid at heart! Young forever!” people who are all over my Facebook feed (looking at YOU chick from college with the subpar cosplay).
Here’s my main thing: Peter Pan is a lot more complicated and a lot darker than most people and media want to think about. I get it. They want the nostalgia and lack of adult responsibilities, not a lesson in mortality and maturity. But, come on…the latter is so much more interesting.
Peter’s not nice. He’s a kid, and children are rarely nice. Especially when they have not been properly socialized. They’re selfish and impulsive and they don’t understand consequences – particularly consequences that have to do with other people’s feelings and well-being.
The best adaptations acknowledge this. It isn’t just that Peter’s youthful; he’s childish. But a weird kind of childishness where he’s had to survive on his own and fight and take care of himself, more like a child of the streets than a nymph.
So for that reason I like “Peter and the Starcatcher”. It shows why Peter pulls away so hard from growing up – an abusive past, nothing but horrible adults in his life, and too little time to be a carefree kid. So it makes sense when he accepts without too much protest he’s going to stay a kid alone on the island. It does all this without so much of the happy-shiny “Let’s fly and laugh at danger” many of the shows have. Plus it’s really fun and clever. I like its heart, and I love that it’s all swash-buckling and adventure-y and dangerous.
I low-key hate this version. I call it the “Mary Martin Peter Pan”. It’s the one that community theatres put on too often and that they made the live TV musical out of. It takes away any seriousness the story might have in favor of just being fun and pretty. Plus, it has Peter as a girl’s part which it HATE. Why do we always have grown women playing this young boy? Why? It’s awkward and awful. It must stop.
STOP. Though a few of these songs are catchy. I can’t deny that.
I loooooooove the Stiles and Drewe “Peter Pan”, though. It’s probably my favorite stage adaptation. This one never made it to America/Broadway for some reason. But it did rather well in England and Copenhagen, where it premiered. One of the best parts about it is that Peter is written for a guy. It’s a high tenor part which makes sense since, you know, small-framed men who dance and sing high tenor are rather abundant in the musical theatre world. It also features a more vicious Peter, with a gang of Lost Boys who are a little unsettling. And Wendy is way more developed – she gives Peter as good she gets, pretty sassy and not taking so much of his nonsense. Overall, it just hews closer to the original Barrie stories while adding GREAT music. 10/10 – buy the soundtrack now.
Another interesting, lesser-known adaptation is “Darling”. It’s a musical by Ryan Scott Oliver, and it’s much more freely adapted. It’s set in the streets of Boston in the 1920s.
I like that it’s so different than all the other versions out there. Plus, the music is jazzy and soulful and so much fun. Everyone is darker with a sad past. And then this young woman is finding a strange new world every bit as exotic to her as Neverland.
Fandom: Technically Peter and the Starcatchers, but let’s just say Peter Pan
Warnings: Death mention, angst, stuff like that
Just a thing that I wrote bc I was rereading Peter and the Starcatchers and I saw so much potential for angst????? So obviously I needed to bless the world with some Peter Pan angst that I wrote while doing my homework lmao.
It was during the middle of the night in the island of Neverland when a boy by the name of Peter Pan woke up.
Peter wasn’t particularly surprised, for this was a common occurrence. He slowly sat up, careful not to wake up Tinker Bell, who slept in his hair. Peter gazed at the Lost Boys fondly, but his smile quickly faded.
Peter hid it rather well, but every time he looked at the Lost Boys, he was painfully reminded of his old friends– the original Lost Boys, who had left the island, grown up, and started lives of their own many years ago. They had lived there before the starstuff that made everyone on the island immortal had come to the island.
He remembered once shouting at Wendy, “I never asked to be special! I don’t want to be special!”
That outburst had happened many years ago, but his feelings hadn’t changed.
A voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like Molly’s told him, Think about you’re feeling.
How was he feeling?
Well, Peter was tired.
He was tired physically, of course, from countless sleepless nights, but he was also tired mentally. He was tired of his stupid daily routine of laughing and taunting the pirates and plastering fake smiles and smirks on his face and listening to Tink scold him and– he was just so tired.
His immortal state had seemed to preserve his maturity as well as his physical appearance, but lately it seemed like his mental age was catching up with him. He wasn’t sure exactly when, but his entire view of the world had suddenly changed.
Also, if Peter was going to be honest with himself, he was envious. He was envious of Lost Boys for their innocence, and of the Mollusks for being so at home here. He was envious of George for marrying Molly, and he was envious of Molly for being to grow up. Of the pirates for being so stupid. Of the mermaids for being so magical. Of people, regular people, who could grow up and have lives and then finally die.
Peter had begun to think about that more and more often. As a young boy, he was afraid of death, but now he wondered whether it was really so bad.
Maybe if he had someone to confide in, his life wouldn’t have been so difficult. But there was no one on the island that he could really talk to, and whenever he finally someone who he could trust, they refused to stay on the island. They wanted to grow up.
It was selfish of Peter to ask them to stay– after all, he of all people understood wanting to grow up. But he wanted them to stay.
Molly. James. Wendy. He had lost count.
And it was during the middle of the night on the island of Neverland that a boy by the name of Peter Pan sighed and fruitlessly tried to go back to sleep.