Set Design for Peter Pan
Each March the theatre program at St. Michael's presents a spring play. Always inclusive of the Middle School students' wide variety of talent, the production is the brainchild of Christina Johnston and Ellyn Eaves-Hileman. This year's show is Peter Pan, the classic tale of the boy who never wanted to grow up and his adventures with the Darling family. With every play, we know that a great deal of time, effort, and energy is invested by all of the students and faculty involved, including the behind the scenes involvement.
Mrs. Eaves-Hileman leads the stagecraft class at St. Michael's, working with Middle School students on the set design, creation, and imagination to bring the actors' world to life. Often the set adds a complexity to the production and Peter Pan is no exception. "There are essentially five scenes within this play," explained Mrs. Eaves-Hileman, "the nursery, Neverland, the mermaid’s lagoon, the lost boys underground home, and Captain Hook's pirate ship." The students are also responsible for building the set and changing the stage during the play. So the question became, how will be possible to not only create drastically different looking set pieces, but make it manageable for the students to move?
"I took inspiration from looking at how children play. The idea of make-believe runs through the story and children will creatively use and reuse items in their room as inspiration for creating other worlds." Mrs. Eaves-Hileman explained how she started the design process. "I knew we had to reuse items for each set design, just as children reuse different toys when they are playing."
And so she started to build...small scale at first. As a miniature version of the set came to life, Mrs. Johnston joined the creative process to envision how her actors could interact with the pieces on stage. And (without giving too much away) the plan to use interchangeable cubes, trap doors, and pirates has come to life. During 'Build Day' Middle School students worked on building the set, taking the model pieces and bringing them to larger than life reality.
For the sharp-eyed sleuth in the audience, Mrs. Eaves-Hileman advises you to pay attention. "We know the role the alligator, mermaid, and pirate ship play in this production. So if you keep a close watch during the play, you might see these nursery toys featured in other parts of the children's world."
Next up, costumes!
There are three performances scheduled for Peter Pan.
Thursday, March 1 at 7 pm
Friday, March 2 at 7 pm
Saturday, March 3 at 2 pm