CUYAHOGA FALLS – For anyone who wants to escape adulthood, "Peter Pan and Wendy" by Tracy Wells will take them to a world where no one has to grow up.
Peter Pan and Wendy is being performed by Actors -N- Theatre In Cuyahoga Falls at 7 p.m. Aug. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 in the Newell Theatre on the third floor of the Quirk Cultural Center, 1201 Grant Avenue. Tickets are sold at the door only, cash and check only.
The play is adapted from the 1911 novel by J. M. Barrie where Peter Pan loses his shadow in the Darling nursery, and Wendy Darling sews it back on. Peter invites Wendy and her two brothers to fly to Neverland where she becomes the mother to Peter's band of Lost Boys. They enjoy adventures with mermaids, natives from the tribe of Neverland and pirates, including Captain Hook.
Mary Kay Dente is the director. She is a founding member and current artistic director for ANTIC, which began performing in 1983.
"This is my 25th year of directing shows in my spare time while I teach in my real life," Dente said.
Peter Pan and Wendy is the non-musical, non-flying version of the J. M. Barrie novel. The play has a multi-generational cast of 34 with five dogs rotating the part of Nana, the canine nursemaid for the Darling children, and pirate dogs.
"I chose the show because it's special and ANTIC has never done it," Dente said. "This is a classic that is fun to do."
Luke Kolasky is a sophomore at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron and portrays Peter Pan.
"It's a very enjoyable role," Luke said. "He's eccentric and all over the place."
Luke said Aug. 2 he was working on crowing and memorizing all his lines.
"Peter learns there's more to life than play and sometimes you need to take responsibility," Luke said. "It's a magical, wonderful show."
Kara Herman is a sophomore at Cuyahoga Falls High School. Although she has been in a dozen plays, this is the first time she has played Wendy and acted in the ANTIC theater.
"It's fun meeting new people," Kara said about the cast. "Wendy's purpose is to find her sense of adventure and the greatest adventure of all is being with her family."
Captain Hook and Mr. Darling are portrayed by Matthew Bradley Smith of Cuyahoga Falls. He said the author of Peter Pan, wanted the same actor to portray both characters to show Wendy being confronted by a mirror image of her parents and the evils of adulthood. Mr. Darling's last words to his children are shouts of anger.
"The lesson is through Wendy," Smith said. "Don't ever let go of the feeling you had as a child. Never forget that there's a child in all of us and it's not bad to let it out once in awhile."
Mr. Smee, the ship's bo'sun, is portrayed by David Prosen of Cuyahoga Falls. It is the second ANTIC play for Prosen, who previously portrayed Clarence in "It's A Wonderful Life."
"Smee has evilness to him but he's loveable," Prosen said."He's naïve and a buffoon."
"Smee is a villain but at one point he asks Wendy if she would be his mother," Prosen said. "Smee wants that approval and sense of belonging. That's why he's loyal to the captain."
Tinkerbell is portrayed by two people. Karen Sauerbrey of Cuyahoga Falls will play Tinkerbell in the early shows and Kristen Smith of Cuyahoga Falls plays Tinkerbell in the final weekend.
Kristen said it was fun portraying Tinkerbell because there are no lines.
"It's all gestures and movements," Kristen said. "It's been a challenge. I've never played a part without lines."
Peter Pan and Wendy is a fun story with a little bit of everything, Kristen said. It takes you on a ride.
"I like the appeal of never growing up," Kristen said. "It's exciting [for ANTIC] to finally put it on."
Tinkerbell portrays the magic of Neverland, Sauerbrey said. And the kids like her. She sparkles.
"I add my own touches," Sauerbrey said. "When Peter Pan reprimands her, she has a fit. She also wants Peter Pan all to herself."
Two-thirds of the cast are children in this version of Peter Pan and Wendy.
"It's perfect for kids to see other kids acting," Sauerbrey said. "There's also an unexpected ending."
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or email@example.com.