The magic of youth and all the adventure that can be held there

October 7 - “Peter and the Starcatcher,” a play that will dive into the world of Peter Pan, is coming this November to Cottage Grove High School (CGHS). The play is an origin story that features the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs. Darling, Tinker Bell, Captain Hook and more.

Jessie McClean will co-direct the play with Lexi Chapman. McClean is a CGHS teacher and graduate of the school. She learned the ropes of theater locally at the Cottage theater and other productions in high school and college. Chapman attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, and was also a professional actress.

For McClean, “One of my dream roles was to play Peter Pan. But also, from a literary standpoint, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ was a book. It’s the magic of youth and all the adventure that can be held there. It’s so light, and so funny. We spend a lot more time using the actors to tell the story than props or backgrounds. The actors are the meat of it; that was really exciting for me to see.”

According to Chapman, “I enjoyed the Peter Pan story. I got to see ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ when I was in college at Cornish. I fell in love with all the different characters in it. When you think of the Peter Pan story, you think of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Wendy, and Smee. Those are the main people, but I think the story is written in a really cool way where it adds in a lot of really interesting characters that especially give younger actors something to chew on and gives the experience to do the dramatic stuff, to get to that higher emotional place, and also be hilarious by stretching their comedic goals. It forces them out of their shell a little bit because it forces them to act like really wild and crazy pirates.”

When looking for a fall play earlier this year, Chapman and McClean “really wanted it to be magical. That’s something we both talked about a lot, too,” McClean said. “We want it to be fun and light hearted, and if we could get a sword fight in there, that would be the dream.”

The production will feature more than 20 CGHS students of various theater backgrounds, many of whom will share the stage together all at once. 

“We knew we were looking for plays that had really big casts with lots of different characters. We wanted to give the students the best experience as possible. Especially coming out of COVID, we haven’t been able to do a lot of big productions in a really long time,” said Chapman.

The first showings of “Peter and the Starcatcher” will be held on Nov. 11 and 12 at 7 p.m. There will be a Nov. 13 matinee [time to be determined], with special pricing for elementary students. Showings will also be held on Nov. 18 and 19.

Contact Cottage Grove High School for more details.