Special to The Record
Hands up if you know a person called Wendy. One hundred years ago, very, very few hands would have been raised, for the name Wendy had just been invented.
In 1907, when J.M. Barrie presented his stage play, he needed a name for a very special girl. This girl not only befriended a boy who didn’t want to grow up, but took off with him to Never Never Land.
The boy had a name already. Barrie had made up a series of stories to entertain the sons of good friends. They heard how their youngest brother, Peter, learned to fly and had wonderful adventures. So, joined with the name of the god who enjoys nature, wild things and frolicking with nymphs, Peter Pan leapt from a minor character in a minor story, to the toast of London’s West End.
Other friends of Barrie had a young daughter who called him Mr. Friendly, but she had a problem with pronunciation. As a result, the name was closer to Mr. Fwendy. Barrie played with this sound and the name Wendy was born.
In Courtenay Little Theatre’s upcoming production of Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Ellice, we meet other people whose names become familiar. Based on the bestselling books by Dave Barrie and Ridley Pearson, many questions are answered. What happened to Captain Hook? He can’t always have had a hook. How did Peter end up in Never Never Land? Who is this marvellous, smart, spunky girl who would become the mother of the wonderful Wendy? Is it possible to become what we want to be, just by splashing in the right water? Is Captain Scott really on his way to the Antarctic? And the really big question – what happened before Peter flew into that bedroom?
Directed by Lori Mazey, this prequel to the classic Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, provides superb entertainment for adults and children, school-aged and up. The show was a huge success in New York, winning five Tony awards. Its exhilarating story is told on an amazing set made of planks, ropes, and buckets. This is the ReStore come to Victorian England.
Performances inspired by Peter Pan range from opera in Stuttgart to puppets and Celtic music in Scotland. There has been a film in Spain and a musical in Copenhagen.
Peter and the Starcatcher, a play with music, is the latest addition to this long and diverse heritage. With energy, humour and imagination, Courtenay Little Theatre is bringing its magic, with maybe a hint of mayhem, to the holiday season.
Performances will be at the Sid Williams Theatre, opening with a 2 p.m. matinee on Dec. 26, and 7:30 p.m. performances from Dec. 27–31. Tickets ($20 for matinee and $22 evening performances) can be purchased at the theatre box office in person at 442 Cliffe Ave., by phone at 250-338-2430 ext. 1, or online at www.sidwilliamstheatre.com.