Last week, the Page to Stage integrated Grade 10 English and Drama class performed their version of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, a play by the Mischief Theatre Company. As the title implies, it is the story of Peter Pan but whose execution is full of mishaps. This play within a play was full of technical hitches, high school love interests and COVID protocols getting in the way of the characters finding their way in Neverland.
One of the things that made this play so special was that every student in the class played a vital role in ensuring its “smooth” running. As Sarah Cave '23 who played the roles of Tiger Lily and Coral the Pirate reflected, “Every single person thrived in this performance.” For comedic effect, some students were cast in up to three roles, which was extremely challenging. For example, Isabelle Kim '23 had to do costume changes from Mrs. Darling to the housekeeper to Tinker Bell in sometimes a matter of seconds, but she always kept the crowd laughing! Sacha Kayudin '23, played both John and Smee; he consistently had the crowd roaring with his excellent comedic timing while Branden Dunford '23 excelled in his two roles as Peter’s shadow and Starkey the pirate due to his hilarious physicality. With just over three weeks to learn, rehearse and perform this play, it was impressive to watch all of these characters come to life.
Many of the play’s highlights were choreographed by the students themselves. For example, an epic dance battle between Captain Hook (Ben Freeman '23) versus Peter Pan (Griffin Mbonda '23) was choreographed by Isabelle Kim '23, while a strange underwater scene crafted by Sarah Cave '23 featured Eno Chen '23, Ben Stainrod '23 and Henry Xia '23 as mermaids rollerblading on stage. All of these scenes truly came to life thanks to Dylan Smith '23 who worked as the technical director, developing all of the lights (run by Patrick Boren '23) and sound effects for the show, and Abby Reeds '23, a strong leader in her role as stage manager having to call all of the cues, and Cam Eatmon '23 as the narrator.
To conclude this unit, the students were asked to write a personal essay about their experience. It was impressive to read their mature realizations about themselves and their peers. Henry Xia '23 who played Nana, the dog and a pirate, wrote, “the comedy in the play taught me to be brave and to see the humor in stressful situations.” Griffin reflected, “All in all, this process was like a crescendo, it started off slow and difficult but by the last show, I was walking off stage with a smile on my face.” When reflecting on the last and strongest performance, Rida Shahbaz '23, who played Wendy Darling, wrote, “This shows that in life when we make mistakes, we can take them as lessons and apply them to future situations.” Many students also talk about being inspired by their peers during rehearsals. Steven Zhang '23 wrote about being calmed and reassured by Ben Freeman '23, who told him, “Just be more confident, you need to believe in yourself.” and how that made all the difference.
As their teachers, we are beyond proud and grateful to get to work with such a wonderful group of teenagers. Their amazing sense of humour makes every day more enjoyable, and we were thrilled to get to share some of that with our audiences.