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Peter, Pan Jr

Took B to see the local musical theatre camp's production of Peter Pan (C is en route to visit his grandmother -- first flight as an unaccompanied minor, wow) and it was pretty good. It was billed as an abridged version (about 90 minutes, no flying, very much mashed up) and to my mind very well thought out. B really liked the crocodile and Captain Hook and seeing his brother's schoolmates (the girl playing Tinkerbelle did a star turn as Beaker in a recent school production). I watched the completely manic kid playing Peter and considered that Barrie's audience would have been much more attuned to the classical reference in his name. Noticed the ways that the dramaturges had done their best to play with the underlying racism/sexism/social darwinism/everything else of the original. (If you read Peter Pan and Mary Poppins at all carefully, it's easy to see the essentially dickensian underpinnings, only without nearly as much hope.) Enjoyed seeing the ongoing evolution of some of the kids who I've seen around since they were aging out of toddler playgroup.

Couldn't help thinking about a mainstage production of Peter Pan I worked on during one of my junior years, a dark version in which Peter was much more the child-stealing fairy of older folklore, tormented as much as enlivened by his eternal present. I remember inflating the gazillion balloons that floated down through the spotlights, and having words with the technical director about his bodged-together flying harnesses. It ended (book-accurate) with the adult Wendy weeping in her own empty nursery. (Yeah, I started tearing up in this latest production when the kids came flying back. Go figure.)

And couldn't help thinking of Eddy, the schlubby old guy who rented dimmers and lights and equipment to all of us, whose blowzy, bespectacled wife handled the business side of the enterprise. His term of endearment for her was always "Tink", and none of us young ones could believe it. She went from smoking behind a desk to an oxygen cannula to a tent during my time as a lighting designer, and then my senior year Eddy took a couple months off when she died.

OK, so I'm obvious, even if that wasn't really where I intended to end up. But I noticed the other day taking the kids to IHOP that there's a whole big section of the menu devoted to meals for the 55-plus crowd.

Oh, and I also remember at strike how much fun and how loud it was wading thigh-deep in balloon across the stage and popping every damn one of them.