Even before opening night, there has been a lot of buzz about the set for Peter Pan and Mary. “It was magic to see it go from a bare stage to London and the island. The stars actually sparkle and the window curtains blow,” reveals Rebecca Eastman, Costumer for DreamWrights. “In a few short moves they use set pieces and build a pirate ship on stage. It’s fascinating to watch and so cool! The mermaid lagoon makes you think they could actually swim with Tony’s lights and the boulders sticking up out of the water.”
Lighting Designer, Tony Fogle is one of a great team of people who are the creativity behind this beautiful, enchanting stage. Of course, Guest Director, Andrea Unger had a vision for it. She worked closely with Technical Director, Bob McCleary to design the set, and together with a superb and enthusiastic crew of people, they have created the fascinating world of Neverland, a pirate ship, a lagoon, and more!
“The whole idea behind it was sheets and shadows, Bob says in a wistful voice. “We start out the show in Mary’s room and then we drop a ten by 24 foot sheet and project shadows on it.” He says this provides most of the background setting. The shadow puppetry, headed up by Missy Taylor and Paula Rineer, helps set the scenery and also gives a hint of what is to come.
As far as her vison, Andrea wanted to honor the spirit of J. M. Barrie’s description of Neverland. She explains, “In Peter Pan, Barrie describes Neverland as being ‘very real’ in the ‘two minutes before falling asleep.’ That’s what I wanted to capture… those drowsy moments when you start to drift off and dream and it all seems so real. And Bob, Terri, and Tony magically made it happen!” Bob agrees, “That was the whole idea. [Lead Scenic Artist] Terri Einsig is the one who made it so fantastic and beautiful. She painted it perfectly with lights glowing from the city in the distance. And Big Ben!” Andrea interjects, “Paige Gross helped with most of the painting.” Bob continues, “And the fairy tree is pretty cool too. It was built by by [Designer Extraordinaire], Jacob Schlenker.” Suffice it to say that collaboration is the secret behind the enchanting set.
Also collaborating, Props Mistress, Andi Cooper, and Props Master, Chris Beaudoin, along with their crew have been helping to create elements of the set as well. Andi says the experience has allowed her to be creative and artistic. “I’ve learned so many new things and been given the chance to work with tools and gadgets that I’d never otherwise have the opportunity to discover.” She particularly enjoys creating special props that tie characters together and give the audience something magical to discover. “Seeing all of our hard work come together on stage is so exciting! To see the pride and smiles on the faces of the props crew when they see their creations being used is wonderful. It’s very fulfilling to watch the props we’ve created come to life in the hands of the actors.”
Not only is magic to be found on the stage of Peter Pan and Mary, but as Andi reflects, magic abounds at DreamWrights. She muses, “I always talk about the ‘magic of DreamWrights,’ but it’s not just a catch phrase. It truly is a magical place for my daughters and me. A place that I’m proud and honored to be a part of. A place where learning, creativity and teamwork all come together,” she pauses, “Magically!”
Check out the enchanting world of Peter Pan and Mary on May 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 6:30 pm and May 6, 7, 14, 20, and 21 at 2:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 717-848-8623. Advance seats cost $10 for general, $14 for reserved. General admission seats at the door cost $12.
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