Friday, November 5, 2010

This 'Peter Pan' Will Make You Believe In threesixty° Theater

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to view a performance of threesixty° theatre's production of Peter Pan at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. This isn't just any play, though - the show combines actors with CGI technology, puppetry and a cleverly transforming stage into a theater-in-the round experience. In fact, it doesn't even take place inside the theater, but in a custom-built circus tent just outside the main building.

But I'm going to stop right here for a second and tell you a story about my daughter's phone that she dropped in the toilet at the theater after the show. It was my old iPhone I'd given to her and she'd had it for all of one week. Why am I telling you this tragic story? Because unfortunately it's colored her entire experience of the show and in case you ask her about it she's likely to say it was the worst night of her life when in fact up until that point she and her friend had a great time and were totally mesmerized by the whole thing.

Now, back to Peter Pan.

I wonder if Peter Pan has a cell phone? Never mind.

For me, the staging and the technology were the real stars of this show. The story of Peter Pan is one I've heard (and read to my kids) no fewer than 5000 times, so that wasn't really the reason I was drawn to this particular staging of it. They do stick closer to JM Barrie's original story (not the Disney version) so the story is a bit darker but for the most part it follows the narrative that we've all grown up hearing. The actors all did a fantastic job (I didn't even mind that the Darling children were all played by adults) but again, the most unique aspect is the amazing staging by threesixty°. Here, take a look:

(Also, check out this fascinating interactive graphic explaining how the whole thing works. They even have a video showing how the tent and stage were set up. Thanks, LA Times!)

Another detail to look out for: their clever use of ordinary items to create their props. Their fantastical 'alligator' was created with the help of wooden clothes hangers and clothespins. Also, my daughter's sharp-eyed friend saw what she thinks was a football being used as the body of one of the puppets.

There was a lot of talk about the Tinkerbell character and how she was much sassier and strong willed, but she was one of my least favorite characters. I thought her way of communicating - with a series of grunts and whines – started to get really annoying after a few minutes and it kept reminding me of a poor Gilda Radner imitation. Sorry, Tink. But I still do believe in fairies!

Aside from that, I loved everything about this Peter Pan experience and I would wholeheartedly recommend you go see it. And lucky for you - they've extended the show's run through January 2. Just remember to keep an eye on your kid's cell phone.

(They also offer an 'Into Neverland Behind-The-Scenes Tour' on Saturdays that looks intriguing. See the website for details.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Pin It


Related Posts with Thumbnails