Two weeks ago, Blayd Pires was getting ready to fly.
Dressed in forest green shorts and shirt, donning a hat with a feather, the 12-year-old admits he is a little apprehensive about being airborne.
“I’m going to be flying over the audience,” the protagonist of Peter Pan says while demonstrating how he’ll swoop right over the audiences –Wendy and her siblings in tow.
Besides making him perform impossible feats, the Xtreme Theatre musical about a mischievous boy who can fly and never ages has got Pires contemplating his imminent departure out of childhood and into the world of teens.
“I think Peter Pan is more brave,” says Pires.
“I think there’s a lot of him in me, except I want to grow up.”
Peter Pan features a cast of 92 children, ages five to 18, who are all home-schooled.
The company was formed 13 years ago by producer Wendy Holm as a social and creative outlet for home-schooled kids.
Janna Grant didn’t auditioned for a part as Tinkerbell but got picked to play Peter Pan’s prank playing sidekick after a producer found out she wasn’t afraid of heights.
The nine-year-old actress, whose been on stage since she was four, is using both her dance and acting skills for the role.
“Tinkerbell is naughty and from what I’ve seen, I think she has a crush on Peter Pan,” says Grant, noting that the tiny fairy walks just like a ballerina, on her toes.
“I mostly make up what I do. I go around and bug people. It’s really fun.”
Written by J. M. Marries, Peter Pan was first performed in London in 1904 and has since become one of the most widely performed and adapted children’s stories in the world.
It’s themes of growing up, maturity and self discovery resonate with Elijah Goerzen and Joy Warren, both 17.
Goerzen, who plays Dr. Hook, is relishing his role as the villain since he’s always been cast as a “good guy” in the past.
“I’ve watched a couple of version of Peter Pan and tried to model my character on them,” says Goerzen, whose Hook is evil but comical, a twist that makes playing the one armed pirate captain a little easier.
“Being able to play a villain – for one thing – is a lot more fun.”
Being Wendy has reminded Warren to savour every minute of her childhood.
“Wendy is pretty much this little girl who is pretending to be this adult,” says Warren, who thinks she’s acted in at least seven Xtreme Theatre productions.
“This makes me want to be a kid again. The show ends with the song Don’t Say Goodbye – I’m going to be crying.”
Peter Pan plays the ACT on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students. For tickets, call the ACT box office at 604-476-2787 or purchase online at actmapleridge.org.