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Sunday, May 19, 2013

PAN II SEE THIS SHOW!


Peter Pan II

Back Row L-R: David Hemphill, Daniel Shawn Miller, Jackson Evans, Benjamin Campbhell,
Front Row L-R: Trisha LaFache, Liza Burns, Amy Lawhorn
Photo Credit: Mary Ann Williams

It’s fun to be enthusiastic about really well done theatre. 

Yesterday, I was describing to a friend the moment in the show in Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers where Tinkerbell (Amy Lawhorn with a glowing ball on a stick!) has observed Hook (really scary, though totally gorgeous Trisha LaFache) poison the ‘medicine’ that Wendy (wonderful Liza Burns) has left for Peter (Daniel Shawn Miller).  In a gallant gesture, Tink drinks it before Peter can.  This is a dark moment in the story that most of us remember with Mary Martin or Cathy Rigby or the Disney version where Tink’s life energy ebbs and ebbs away.  Peter narrates for her. He tells our rather sophisticated audience that she can only survive if we validate her existance.  The audience must declare that we ‘believe.’

 “Do you believe in fairies?”   Peter implores.

Silence

“Do you believe?” 

The entire theatre is completely dark: black out dark.  Not a shadow.  Dark.  And, then, one small voice beside me quietly peeps, “I believe.” 

Are we embarrassed? Are we too hip? Are we just too ‘adult’ to say it? 

And, then, another voice, “I believe…” and another and another and the cacophony of voices is enough to bring tears to your eyes.  The effect of Tinkerbell’s light re-emerging is beautiful and the stage returns to life as she does.  Whew.

There are a hundred other moments in this production that spark the imagination. The ensemble brings them off with so little effort that there are times when you may believe not only in fairies, but that an actor really does fly. 

A stage combat scene is always hard to deal with because the actors, of necessity, must be ‘careful.’  This, of course, is death to a sword fight.  When Hook and Peter face off with epees, Sondra Mayer's beautiful choreography simply works.   

Mine is not an objective review. This is a fan letter to the Blank Theatre and this fine production that, thankfully,  has been extended.  There are only 55 seats in the tiny space at Wilcox and Santa Monica.  Please make a reservation and go! Supporting this production with full houses will keep the Blank functioning and hopefully encourage them to bring more and more innovative work to their stage.  

And, always remember and never forget that it is completely cool to know in your heart and to say out loud, “I do believe in fairies!”

Michael Sheehan
On Stage Los Angeles

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