Ann I took off my green tights. But before I went home, I stayed in the theater for a little while longer. Where you don’t have to grow up.
Playing Peter Pan at her hometown children’s theater is one of Ann’s fondest, most formative memories. Now, 50 years later, Neverland calls again, casting her and her siblings back to this faraway dreamscape where the refusal to grow up confronts the inevitability of growing old. In her highly anticipated return to Playwrights, Sarah Ruhl conjures a tender, yearning tale that flies in the face of time, in the search for a second youth.
I wrote 'For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday' as a gift for my mother (for her seventieth birthday). My mother grew up playing Peter Pan in Davenport, Iowa. As a child I looked at pictures scattered around my grandparents’ house of my mother wearing green tights and flying.
Commentators have long noted the dark undercurrents of Peter Pan: the boy who wouldn’t grow up, whose shadow is cut from his body, the island of lost boys, the Freudian pairing of Father with Dr. Hook, the death and resurrection of Tinkerbell. Of course these dark elements are more than matched by Peter Pan’s underlying quest for transfiguration.
When he first flew into the bedroom of the sleeping Darling children in 1904, Peter Pan made an entrance not just onto the stage of London’s Duke of York Theatre but, indelibly, into the popular imagination. In conceiving this “Boy Who Would Not Grow Up,” J.M. Barrie invented a new myth, one that’s permeated our cultural psyche.