Teenagers are calling the shots for the Peter Pan Players' newest fundraiser, "The Peter Pan Parodies: The Princess Chronicles."The production features six Disney princess fairy tales written, cast, directed, costumed and performed by the Peter Pan Players' high school class, with the aid of the troupe's elementary students.
The production includes the work of 15 high school students and around 20 elementary students."I was originally going to do a show in concert where the actors would perform and sing from scripted work, but I said 'Let's keep it focused on the kids and do something this area hasn't done before: Let the kids write it,'" said Peter Pan Players director Trey Jackson.The event marks the first fundraiser of the season for the children's theater troupe. Jackson said he hopes to make it a staple, like their annual fundraiser "I Am an Actor." Money raised will go toward trips, operational costs and building maintenance.Jackson describes the parodies as 20-minute versions of all the popular Disney fairy tales, but with a twist. He said the students had no problem stepping up to the plate."At first, they had a lot of questions, but I said 'These are your characters. Take what Disney's given you and take it where you want it to go and include what you think about it. Make fun of these characters in your own mind and put it on paper. Just make sure it's OK for all ages,'" Jackson said with a laugh.The students' work has been pretty impressive so far, Jackson said. One student even includes some political references in the "Pocahontas" fairy tale.He said he hopes the experience will give students a stronger sense of what it takes to develop a character and how much thought actually goes into it. "Just because you're being handed a character developed by an author doesn't mean you don't still have to research it, figure out where they're coming from, where they're going and the life behind what the audience sees on stage. With actually having to write a script, they have to think about all that," he said.Lauren Rogers, 17, of Shreveport, said the experience for her has been an exciting one."It was definitely challenging at first because it was the first time any of us were expected to do something like this," Rogers said. "But it's also exciting that Trey put his faith in us to do it. We've been working really hard."Rogers co-wrote, staged and directed "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale. She's also performing in five of the six parodies."We're making fun of the characters a little bit, but we still want children who come to see the performance to fall in love with the characters," she explained. "We're just kind of taking out little pieces here and there. Some make fun of politics and some make fun of theater. So it's fun."Lauren Gieseke, 14, of Shreveport, agreed the experience was fun."I really found that I like performing, but now I know that's not the only way I can do theater. There's more to it than that," said Gieseke, who wrote a parody on "Beauty and the Beast," in which she performs as narrator.Gieseke also performs in four other parodies. "It's opened up a whole new realm of theater because the behind-the-scenes stuff is important. It builds the foundation for what we want to do and learning about it helps on stage," she said.Jackson said the audience will be in for a treat."They'll enjoy seeing how talented our younger generation really is and it will give them a greater respect for the younger generation and the talent that's coming up," he said. "And, hopefully, it will give them just a brighter outlook on the leaders of our future. ... And see that these are people who have developed brains and can think and create on their own."Miss a day. Miss a lot. Get all the who, what, when and where delivered to your home.Sign up today for 7-day delivery of The Times and get a FREE gift. Click here to start your subscription.
November 20, 2007