GISS theatre taps into Neverland magic


Gulf Islands Secondary School’s senior acting class will sprinkle a little magic over the post-holiday blahs when they present their version of the Disney musical Peter and the Starcatcher next week.

The Second Story Theatre production hits the ArtSpring stage for three nights starting Wednesday, Jan. 10. Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson about the events that led to the story of Peter Pan, the musical features a play by Rick Elice and music by Wayne Barker. It won praise after Disney Theatrical Productions launched its original run on Broadway in 2009 and then earned a number of Tony awards in 2012.

Working with content that is so fresh from New York is outside the norm for the GISS program, as is taking on material the students haven’t themselves written and adapted from a source.

While it seems like this would lighten their workload, the students say the shift has opened up an interesting new experience for those used to working with theatre teacher Jason Donaldson. He regularly instructs students to avoid the Disney version when developing their homegrown productions such as Pinocchio or Alice in Wonderland.

“With such a huge ensemble, working with an established script gives you such a sturdy background,” said Fiona Pirie, a Grade 12 student who’s a veteran of the school’s theatre and improv programs.

“It’s really easy to get lost in a big ensemble and not know what to do or where to go and what to say, especially when we usually work with a lot of improvised scripts. Having this physical thing that we have to abide by poses a whole new challenge for us, but is also helpful. So it’s been a really different but rewarding process for me,” Pirie said.

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 10 through 12.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 3, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.


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