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High flying adventure on stage

February 05, 2014 - Get ready to take flight with the Darling children as they venture to Neverland in Clarkston High School Drama Club's presentation of "Peter Pan," Feb. 13-16.

"The music is a riot and the characters are larger than life," said Mason Van Gieson on the newest production. "It is one of the best shows you could perform in high school - and we are flying."

The audience is introduced quickly to Wendy Darling and her two brothers, Michael and John, as Wendy is on the verge of adolescence - fighting the decision to stay a child or grow up.

"Peter Pan is a magical boy from Neverland," Van Gieson said, who steps into the titular role. "He takes Wendy and her brother on a trip in which they discover themselves as children and encounter a lot of trials and tribulations. Not least the ominousity between Peter Pan and the evil Captain Hook."

Van Gieson added her character is motivated by fun and remaining a boy.

"Peter presents himself as the symbol of youth and ultimate freedom," she added. "He very much cares for his Lost Boys. But at the same time he is not a little boy - he is far from innocent."

"Hook is obviously the star of the show," said Carl Meyer, as Captain Hook. "Hook is pure evil. He is always plotting to take on Peter Pan - that's his goal in life to beat Peter Pan. He is always mischievious and doing different things. All of his pirates are afraid of him at all times that's why they do everything to his whim."

Visiting Neverland after Peter Pan's brief visit to her home in London is Wendy, played by Larissa McLetchie. She explained Peter Pan and Wendy immediately become best friends after he explains Neverland.

For McLetchie, her favorite part of the musical is when her character and Peter Pan meet when he is searching the room for his fairy friend, Tinkerbell.

"The whole dynamic between them is great throughout the whole thing," Van Gieson added.

Meyer enjoys his character's song "Captain Hook's Waltz."

"The song is so much fun. It has so much energy," he smiled. My second favorite part is the big fight. I really like sword fighting. It is so much fun."

Van Gieson is looking forward to breaking the fourth wall, the invisible wall between the actors and the audience.

"I get talk to all the kids to tell them to clap their hands," she said. "It is my favorite part. The kids love it and I love seeing all the kids.

To help bring the story to life with sets is the backstage crew hard at work creating and building the different places the character venture.

"It's been kind of crazy," said Maria Magidsohn, who has worked backstage for four years. "It is a really big set. It has been a challenge but everyone works really well together to pull through. I am happy with the results."

"We have a really dedicated crew which is really helpful," Meredith Turner agreed.

Evan Coe added each set is bigger than one set they would for just one show and Mike Arner pointed out it they also have more detail.

The favorite set amongst the four including Emily Mick and Sara Galik is the pirate ship.

"It had the most work put into it but it has so many cool details put into it which makes it very special," said Arner.

Turner added the community should come out to see at least one of the performances because it is going to be magical and it is perfect for a night out for Valentine's Day.

"Peter flies," Magidsohn smiled. "Since they are flying we had to accommodate for it - moving the set differently and setting it up differently than initially planned. We put in so much of our time - it is definitely going to turn out well."

McLetchie added the show is completely designed around being young, having fun and being adventurous.

"The youth and freedom of it is something that needs to be visualized and experienced by the adults as well," said Meyer. "Sometimes you get overwhelmed by every day life - take a break and experience something that is pure joy, happiness and adventure."

Performances are Feb. 13, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 15 and 16, 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students and senior citizens. Following each performance is a meet and greet with the characters in the cafeteria.

Tickets can be reserved by calling the high school box office at 248-623-4024 or visiting the box office weekdays from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, visit

"If you thought 'Beauty and the Beast' was impressive this one will basically knock your socks off because of how much more we have put into this one," Mick added.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.
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