Bringing magic to the BlueShore Theatre

Capilano University’s in-house production company, Exit 22, has some starstuff of their own

Justin Scott // Managing Editor

On Nov. 16, Capilano University’s Exit 22 Productions will debut their latest work, Peter and the Starcatcher, a prequel to the tale of Peter Pan, at the BlueShore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts. While the company is known for their unforgettable productions, director Gillian Barber thinks this production will be extra special, if not magical. “I saw it on Broadway about seven or eight years ago and I was totally charmed by the story and the playfulness,” she said. “The whimsy of the whole piece, and it stuck with me for a long time.”

Peter and the Starcatcher is not only a prequel to a classic story, it’s entertaining in its own right. “There’s three plots going,” explained Barber. The first storyline revolves around a young boy, who everyone will come to realize they know as Peter Pan, and his fellow orphans, who are onboard a ship called the Neverland. Then there’s Lord Aster and his daughter Molly who are attempting to protect starstuff, which Barber described as, “the magic of the world – the little bits that fall from stars when they come to earth.” Finally, there’s Black Stache, who will also be familiar to fans of Peter Pan that know the figure as Captain Hook, the character attempting to steal the starstuff.

The first act takes place aboard two ships, the Wasp and the Neverland, however, the story really picks up in the second act when the three plots converge upon one another after a fateful storm brings them and the two ships back together. After the massive shipwreck, the characters are all stranded on the same island.

The production’s captain is not only excited because of her adoration of the story, she’s been mindful of implementing a level of professionalism in the rehearsals that is more akin to professional productions than school ones – something that has not been lost on the performers. “It’s the kind of intensity you’re going to get a lot of the time in the professional world,” said third-year Acting for Stage and Screen student Hunter Golden. After spending much of his career playing villains, Golden said he was excited to play a “good guy” for once. “I play Alf. He’s a flatulent, long-time sailor, which is a big stretch for me,” he laughed. “I don’t know if I was cast specifically because I farted during the auditions, but I think it might have played into it.” Alf ends up developing a romance with Molly’s nanny, Mrs. Bumbrake, which Golden believes to be one of the play’s hidden gems of the storyline. “Me and Mrs. Bumbrake, we’re the true romance that carries this show,” he said.

Like all of the works she is a part of, Barber brings invaluable experience to the helm of the production that can’t be overstated. Starting her career as a performer, she has developed quite a resume over the years, including holding the title of being one of the founders of Vancouver’s theatrical institution, Bard on the Beach. Barber continued bolstering her experience as a member of the Arts Club, and was a director at this summer’s Theatre Under the Stars. “She’s a fucking legend,” said Golden.

With opening night quickly approaching, both Barber and Golden are getting excited. Golden said he was most excited to perform in front of an audience and see what material works best. “Plus, the applause is as addictive as heroin,” he added. Barber finds herself anticipating the productions inherent whimsy and magic. “Sometimes we do plays and there’s no magic in them, and that’s fine because it’s still a great story, but there’s something that will awaken the child in all the adults that see this and that’s what excites me the most,” she said.

Peter and the Starcatcher will run from Nov. 16 to Nov. 25, with tickets ranging from $10 to $22. Whether you’re a die-hard Peter Pan fan, or just looking for something to do on a blustery Vancouver winter night, this production is a must-see. “It’s going to be one of those shows you leave smiling, and what more can you ask of an evenings entertainment,” Barber said.

For tickets visit Capilano University’s Theatre Manager page online.

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