This past weekend we’ve had the pleasure of performing two sold out shows with this year’s Senior School Play. This year it was based on the story of Peter Pan but as with past year’s performances, we put our own spin on things.
J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan captures the imagination in a way that does not discriminate on the basis of age. While the story may resonate in different ways for those at various points on the life cycle, at its core are themes that are deeply connected and familiar. Growing up, dreams, childhood, nostalgia, family (both chosen and biological) and, of course, adventure. The story presents the utterly everyday alongside the unapologetically magical, a contrast which we attempted to present in Flight Risk.
So, what could happen in a world run by teenagers where anything is possible?
The jumping off point for this modern interpretation of Peter Pan was the ‘teenage experience’. A sometimes awkward, and often heightened time, when for many of us there is a pulling (or pushing) towards the ‘adult world’ and a simultaneous anchoring in the childhood realm. It is a time of discovery and adventure, of the completely banal and, for some of us, the occasional glimpse of the extraordinary. In this formative stage, we are faced with questions about our lives and identities, fear and/or excitement about what the future holds and perhaps the (re)surfacing of our ‘shadow selves’ – which can be a motivating, destructive or creative force – depending on the day, the dream, the moment.
We began this process back in February with no script, and some big themes and characters to grapple with. What emerged in the devising process of Flight Risk was a profound sense of openness, honesty and humour that we believe was threaded throughout the play. The performers in the show did not simply memorise their lines and learn choreography; we built this show together. They have written scenes and shared memories and stories; choreographed movement and made decisions about character development. We were constantly moved, impressed and inspired by the dedication, commitment and (mostly brilliant; occasionally bizarre) imaginative offerings of this cast.
Flight Risk was full of creativity, imagination, authenticity and joy. It was a pleasure to devise and work with such wonderful students. I’d also like to thank all the family, friends, staff and the wider Bentleigh community for their ongoing support of these shows and the hard work of these exceptional young people.
Directors – Jacinta Egan and Harriet Devlin