TELLURIDE – “OK, Lost Boys,” Sheridan Arts Foundation Young People’s Theatre Director Jen Nyman Julia says in a voice that carries, gently yet firmly, to the SAF’s Peter Pan cast of 28 sixth-through-eighth graders, onstage and beyond.
“The minute the Indians come in, I want you all to jump up and go to that corner,” she says, pointing to stage right.
“And pirates, you’re doing a great job of making noise and reacting.
“You’re really on today.”
It’s 48 hours before the curtain comes up on what is very likely the SAF’s most ambitious production to date – complete with the perennially youthful Peter sailing through the air – and, Julia tells the group, “we have never gotten through the entire show.
“My heart is palpitating,” she says, although so calmly it’s hard to believe her.
“So freeze, please, and eyes on me,” she says.
Some Lost Boys continue to chatter.
“Serious. Family meeting. Any questions you have that are not about the scenes, ask me at the end, OK?”
Peter Pan bursts onstage.
“It is I,” Emma Silverman says softly, “Peter Pan, the avenger.”
“Emma,” Julia directs, “try this.
“‘It is I,’” she says emphatically. “‘Peter Pan. The AVENGER!’”
The scene bursts into life.
Rehearsal now fast-forwards to the play’s last scene; back in the nursery, where Peter Pan has come to visit Wendy Darling, who introduces him to her youngest child, Jane.
“Who is Jane?” Julia pointedly asks Ryan Niebruegge, who plays Wendy.
“Do you love her?”
Again, the scene comes alive.
With that, rehearsal is over. Plans are made for a strict run-through at dress rehearsal, the next night. Stage manager Erin Thompson makes a final plea for “zero talking” when the curtain goes down, and for complete quiet backstage, at all times. The fairies tug off their wings, and the troupe heads for the exits. Silverman stays behind to fine-tune her flying.
By Friday, it will have all come together, seamlessly.
Peter Pan kicks off the SAF Young People’s Theatre’s 10th season Friday, and runs through Sunday. Showtime is 6 p.m. nightly. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under and lap children are free. Tickets are available at the Sheridan Opera House Box Office (Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.), Wizard Entertainment, by phone at 970/728-6363, or at www.TellurideTicket.com.