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Director Musings: Mike Beaman on For Peter Pan On Her 70th Birthday

It has been an unexpected treasure to discover the beauty that is the play For Peter Pan On Her 70th Birthday. I was not familiar with the play when I was asked to come on board as the director but it quickly earned a special place in my heart. What Sarah Ruhl has accomplished with this script is surprisingly unapologetic look at the joys and burdens of aging and what this company of actors have been tasked to do is bring this relatively unknown work to life with courage and immense vulnerability.

Staging this show was a process of exploration. None of us had seen the work prior to entering the rehearsal studio and our only reference point were the various incarnations of the Peter Pan story that have been captured on film, but the show came to us almost naturally. The cast was almost immediately open to the fullness of the text. What does it really mean to stay alive? What does it really mean to age? What do you gain from a long life; watching children and grandchildren age and grow into adults and have children themselves, experiencing a lifetime of love with a partner, and the bliss of retirement? What pain comes with age; the physical pains of the aging body and the emotional pains of lost loves and friends taken too quickly?

The most special thing about theatre for me is watching actors master the art of showing who they truly are on stage with their whole heart. I hope you find moments of that beauty here.


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