Above us, constantly swirling around, adrift in time and space are untold billions of stars. Balls of fire that may just be hiding a secret, long lost to the grown-ups of the world, but one that every child undeniably knows to be true: That magic exits.
It exists in the budding trees in springtime, the chirping birds, and the light taste of salt when sea spray mists your face. When you catch your breath after a long uphill hike or when strangers weep and cheer at the same movie or sporting event. When you find yourself staring up at a skyscraper, a grand canyon or a thundering waterfall, as if you’ve never even heard of such a thing. Or much less believed they were real
I call that Magic.
It’s what the play Peter and the Starcatcher expresses so delightfully well. The story is about an orphan named Peter who is swept up in an epic adventure that includes seafaring, pirates, tropical Italian islanders, mermaids and a mystical item known as “starstuff”. It’s this starstuff that everyone seems to want to get their hands on. For once you possess starstuff, it… makes you what you want to be. What, then, does Peter want to be? Simply a child. To live the fantastical life of boyhood that has been so brutally denied to him in the orphanage.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it should. It’s an origin story to the Peter Pan tale we all know and love. Well, those of us who’ve managed to retain a fragment of our adolescent magic. This play, that I’m fortunate enough to be involved in, is playing at DalekoArts this May. Speaking to the power of the story, it’s already nearly sold out, but I would urge you to catch it anytime it plays at a theatre in your woods. As for myself, I’ve seen it three times and even acting in it, it’s never gotten old.
What helps me then still love it? By what guiding light do I still gravitate to these feelings? If you’ll indulge me for a little bit longer, I want to share a snippet of something with you; some words that were passed on to me by a dear friend.
Don’t you go through a day without remembering something of, and tucking that memory away like a treasure. Because it is. And memories are sweet doors. They’re teachers and friends and disciplinarians. When you look at something, don’t just look. See it. Really, really see it. See it so when you talk about it, somebody else can see it, too. It’s easy to walk through life deaf, dumb, and blind. Most everybody you know or ever meet will. They’ll walk through a parade of wonders, and they’ll never hear a peep of it. But you can live a thousand lifetimes if you want to. You can talk to people you’ll never set eyes on, in lands you’ll never visit. And if you’re really lucky and you have something worth saying, and if you hold on to the magic, then you might have the chance to live on long after your journey’s over. But hold on to the magic.
Because once you go far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theatre the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the realm of magic.
Man, life can get you down sometimes but isn’t it nice to just remind yourself of blow the dust off those feelings? When everything was just a little more magical? No, see this is something more than nostalgia – nostalgia is too surface. What I’m driving at is something deeper… the sense that even in the darkest of times, there’s always one moment in your life where true, unbridled joy existed. Maybe it lasted for a second, but it did last and if you really believe, you can close your eyes and reignite the spark. Again, for maybe just a second, but that’ll be enough. Then you can open your eyes and go on facing your day knowing you possess the secret that children and stars know so well, but that which most grown-ups forgot ages ago.
Peter and the Starcatcher
by Rick Elice
music by Wayne Barker
based on the novel by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
directed by Amanda White*
music direction by Anthony J Sofie*
May 3 – 19, 2019
post-show discussion follows every Sunday performance
Armando Harlow Ronconi
Anthony J Sofie*
Robin McIntyre (sets/build/paint)
Courtney Schmitz (lights)
Samantha Kuhn Staneart (costumes)
Joshua Stallings (sound)
Sarah Salisbury (props)
Josh Scharback (fight director)
Keely Wolter (dialect consultant)
Samson Perry (stage manager)
*denotes company member