Peter Pan’s first journey to Neverland


Seniors Evan Belsky and Adam Lekang battle on stage.

Julia Shyy, Copy Editor

Many have heard of Peter Pan, the young boy who never grows up and lives in Neverland along with the mischievous lost boys and the infamous Captain Hook. However, until Chantilly drama’s production of “Peter and the Starcatcher” last week, most were unaware of how he came to be.

“‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ is the prequel to ‘Peter Pan,’” senior and actor Michael Rosegrant, who played Teacher in the play, said. “It is a very abstract piece with unique storytelling in which the characters on stage are not just the characters, but also narrators of the story.”

The Chantilly drama department brought back old characters from the past and introduced new ones as well.

“We learn how Captain Hook came to meet Peter Pan [and] how Tick Tock Croc got his name,” director and performing arts department chair Shannon Khatcheressian said. “It really is a beautifully comedic prequel to the classic Peter Pan story.”

Both the cast and crew had important roles in the production.

“I [played] Peter Pan in the show,” senior Evan Belsky said. “It [was a] really cool [experience]. There [were] a lot of stunts, moving platforms and lights incorporated.”

Creating the set was also a complex process.

“I’m a part of the set building team,” senior Evyn O’Reilly said. “We [worked] hard to build up the set for everybody to see and for the actors to work on. It [was] a really cool show [with] artistic aspects to it.”

Fans of the tale enjoyed watching the play as it transported the audience back to childhood.

“The show made me feel like a kid again,” senior Hilary Anderson said. “I loved all the new and old characters that reminded me of the original story.”

Along with the new adventurous storyline, spectators were able to witness the fun, creative features of the show. The crew members built visually artistic sets that resembled pirate ships and an island jungle. Lights and effects were used to create the illusion of waves, sunsets, stars and more.

“We [had] over 80 students working on lights, costumes, props, special effects, set construction, set painting, publicity, sound design and acting,” Khatcheressian said.

The cast and crew worked tirelessly to put on the show in such a short amount of time since the beginning of school. There were four shows from Wednesday, Oct. 26 to Saturday, Oct. 29. This year’s fall production had a two-part cast. For example, seniors Shannon Gaskins and Caroline Barnes both played the role of Molly Aster, a young girl on a mission to save the world.

“It was a complicated, but fun progression,” Gaskins said.

The cast devoted much of their time to long rehearsals on weekdays and weekends.  

“We started going until 8 p.m. roughly two weeks [before the show],” Belsky said. “And then the week [before opening night], we [went as late as] 9 or 10 p.m.”

Crew members also put in days of hard work.

“We started building the set around the first or second week of school,” O’Reilly said.

The production was much anticipated and with the final performances completed, the drama department hopes to win Cappie awards for the show.

“Cappies is essentially the Tony Awards for high school theatre,” Rosegrant said. “Awards are presented to the winners of various Cappie categories such as set, lights, lead actor in a play [and more]. These awards are given to those who win through a voting process by Cappie critics.”

On Friday, Oct. 28, judges were invited to Chantilly’s auditorium to witness the creative accomplishments. With the hard work of the cast and crew, they were able to recreate the magical world of Peter Pan and bring back memorable characters, whom so many of us remember and love.

“[The play invited] you to journey back to your childhood and use your imagination, something we don’t get [to use] too often as we grow up,” Khatcheressian said.

Overall, “Peter and the Starcatcher” was another impressive show performed by Chantilly’s drama department.

“I think [the show] went really smoothly,” senior Mary Connell said. “They all did a great job memorizing lines and picking up cues. I really don’t know how it could’ve gone better.”