Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I wouldn't rant if I didn't care

I'm sure it's unfair of me to judge Fly, the new Peter Pan musical at Dallas Theater Center, without seeing it, but I'm going to do so anyway. From what I'm reading, I'll have to remain unfair because I don't think I can stomach seeing it.

"Forget the ground, forget the sky, 'cause the more you forget the higher you will FLY! FLY, a new musical where Peter Pan flies Wendy and John on an action-packed journey to Neverland that is both fun and scary, exciting and sad. With a new sound and score by Bill Sherman, Rajiv Joseph and Kirsten Childs, FLY shines a whole new light on J.M. Barrie's classic's not just for kids anymore. For adults and kids. Recommended for age 8 years and above. Not appropriate for children under 5 years old."


I'm sorry, wasn't the original exciting and sad, and not just for kids? Here's how we reference the original source material while at the same time disregarding it.

From the bits I'm gleaning--this is from the producer of "Rent" and "Avenue Q," Wendy is grounded for one too many "inappropriate adventures," there are "adult women in tree costumes," pirates who resemble street people (because that's not offensive), lost boys who look like refugees from a gang way (because that's not offensive either), "short, perky tunes"by Sesame Street's music director, and a Tinker Bell with a fixation on young boys--this sounds to me like a Peter Pan nightmare. Adding hip hop isn't going to help. Most updates of the story ring false to me (as in the movie "Hook") and I don't see this being any better. It seems like something that should be doable, but I have yet to see it pulled off well.

Additionally, Lawson Taitte's review says Peter himself gets lost in the musical's psychology, and my beloved Hook seems to be no more than a personification of age hostile to youth. Ironic, since this production isn't recommended for children under eight.

I am admittedly a purist to a fault about many things, and I realize I have a tendency to take other people's Peter Pan interpretations a little too personally at this point*. But I feel better realizing I'm not not this way about all experimental productions. Houston Ballet just staged a dance version I'd have given a lot to to see.

Here's one directed by New York's Robert Wilson which recently premiered in Berlin, with music by CocoRosie, that I would see in a heartbeat and expect to love. Of course, if I were to learn that CocoRosie are originally from Neverland, I'd believe it, so that doesn't hurt.

I simply feel there's only so much surgery one can do on a thing before the heart falls out, and FLY seems to be lacking that organ now altogether.

*For what it's worth, a comment on Project Runway made me think of a Peter Pan Burning Man camp, and I think that would be awesome. Someone do that, please.

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