Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Finding Neverland


I just spent the last 3 days in Cedar City UT attending the Utah Shakespeare Festival. It was awesome! We were able to see Anything Goes (Cheesy old time Broadway classic with sexy tap dancing sailors and such hits as You're the top and I get a kick out of you).

 Love's labour's lost (A Shakespeare comedy/romance with a quartet of gorgeous men and a bevy of lovey ladies to match and such amazing lines as, "They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps" and, "Many can brook the weather that love not the wind").

 And my personal favorite, Peter and the Starcatcher (Think of it as the origin story of Peter Pan told in the most wonderfully imaginative way possible). The cast was incredible, particularly the men who played the Captain Hook character, and the one who played the Peter Pan character. I have spoken before about my affinity for Pan, and so imagine my delight when I was able to meet the talented actor who portrayed him and, also to my great delight, discovered that he was a warm and genuine person. 

As an actor, I always appreciate meeting those who live and breathe this crazy world that lies somewhere between real life and make believe, the way I do. I think this is why I enjoyed Peter and the star catcher so much, it embodies so many of the reasons why after all my years of living in the "real world", I still consider the stage my true home.

Perhaps this is also why, in part, I have always identified with the story of Peter Pan. I know a lot of people look down on the Peter character for his utter refusal to grow up....I mean, jeez...we even have an entire complex named after him. But even though you can make the argument that Pan isn't the best role model, I don't choose to look at him, or his story that way.

That's the great thing about art, it's interpretative.

The story of Peter Pan is a metaphor for something many of us seem to have lost. To me, Pan represents that beautiful childlike nature that we all use to have, but have somehow forgotten. This is ironic because it is Neverland that is suppose to make us forget, but it seems to me that this grown up world that we have built is the world that indeed makes us forget who we really are. You see, when we strip away all of the adult parts of us that tell us that we need to be this or that, or do this or that, or that tell us that life is hard and painful....then what are we left with? We are left with that wild and amazing part of us that we once knew when we were young. 

True, our bodies must age, but our hearts can remain childlike, full of wanderlust and magic, of fairies and pirates, and of innocence and life.

I think that there is a part of all of us that wishes we could go back to a time when life was more simple, when we still believed that our dreams were possible and we weren't afraid of anything...not even a giant crocodile. This is what Peter is; he is that part of all of us that still wants to believe. The part that wants to believe that fairy dust is real, and that if only we can have enough faith, we can give our dreams wings to fly.

I also believe that this is the reason that no matter how hard I try to "grow up" and be an adult with a "real" job (whatever that means), I am constantly drawn back to the stage. To many, those of use who are drawn to the stage are considered Peter Pans in our own right. They look at how we choose to dedicate our whole lives to a craft that will never make us rich, and more than likely, never gain us any sort of widespread recognition. 

Personally, I have spent the last 10 years of my life torn between what I thought I "should" do...you know...grow up, get a real job, or get married and have 2.5 children and make my life all about my husband and family and church.....and the Pan in me that longed to be brave and chase my dreams.

How many times did I watch as friends and colleagues would follow their own Pan to Neverland, and I would sit by the windowsill because I lacked the faith and the courage to give my dreams wings. I told myself that it was better to stay in the "real world", I told myself that it was the "right" thing to do, and worst of all, I convinced myself that Neverland no longer existed...at least..not for me. 

Theater, the stage, performing, THAT is my Neverland.

In my Neverland, anything is possible. In my Neverland, I am fearless. When I am there, when I am on that stage, the world makes sense, and I feel as though I am creating something beautiful. I am helping to bring to life a most wonderful dream, and it's a dream that you can see it in the eyes of the children, and in the faces of those who still remember what it was like to be a child. This is what theater does, it calls for the Pan inside of us all to come out and play. It reminds us that while "reality" can be harsh, we can always escape into our own Neverland. A place where we never have to be afraid to be anything other than exactly who we are. A place where we are safe to dream, and to believe that every lovely thing we have ever hoped for can still be ours.

Neverland, that perfect untouched place where we can be truly free...and where we are finally Home.     

imaged retrieved from http://phatpuppyart.deviantart.com/art/Second-Star-to-the-Right-261511371


Neverland is calling....Home is calling...and to find that place...that would be a very grand adventure indeed.

2 comments:

  1. The book series "Peter and the Starcatchers" is beyond amazing. One of my all time favorites! I saw that they made it into a stage production at the Tony awards a couple years ago. I can't believe it's in Utah and I missed it! I'm naming my firstborn Peter, in part (we'll tell my husband a very small part) is because I love the story of Peter Pan above all others. I love what you wrote about how he represents belief. I may or may not have been the only kid in 6th grade writing Santa letters simply because I wanted to still believe!

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  2. You havent missed it yet. It runs all summer at the Shakespeare festival in Cedar city. A MUST see.

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