Carleton Place’s signature theatre company – the Mississippi Mudds – are performing a new musical version of the children’s classic, Peter Pan, at the Carleton Place Town Hall, over the next two weekends. Last Sunday was the dress rehearsal, and we’re ready to open on Friday. YES TODAY!! TONIGHT!!
Today’s guest author is iconic Mississippi Mudds all around actor and “guy” Mark Piper. Take it away Mark and thanks for writing this.
It’s Tough To Be A Pirate–by Mark Piper
I have a unique perspective on this production: I’m the bad guy.
Yes, that’s right, I’m Captain Hook. The one with the nefarious henchmen and the evil laugh. Being constantly chased by a crocodile with an alarm clock in its belly. And my arch enemy is a flying boy (who has a fairy sidekick named Tinkerbell).
Okay, so I’m playing it for all it’s worth. Pretty shamelessly, in fact.
When we started rehearsals back in January, director Jeff Lee and I decided right from the start that Captain Hook had to be a lot bigger than life – he was the cartoon villain that all the kids in the audience love to hate. He’s the Eton-educated upper-class toff that leads the silliest and most ineffectual band of pirates you have ever seen, and they are constantly outwitted by the young man in the green suit. Now, kids hate pretentious twits, and they love to outwit stupid adults – so they love to see Peter Pan beat the evil black-bearded buccaneer and his bumbling band over and over again.
But can I make an observation? I’m the oldest guy in the cast. In fact, I had to get my naturally grey beard dyed black in order to be young enough to play an old pirate! And Peter Pan is a young boy that can run circles around him – in fact, fly circles around him. Is that fair?
Still this whole “everybody hates Captain Hook” thing has caught on. Even though the show is full of wonderful songs, both solos and chorus, the pirates and I get all the nasty stuff. Peter Pan and Wendy get to sing all the nice songs, naturally, about dreams, and Neverland, and tomorrow, and flying home. The Lost Boys (Peter’s gang) get to do a song and dance number about how tough they are. Even the mermaids get ethereal, ghostly music.
What do the pirates get? Pure evil – songs about killing and hanging and fighting and poison. And the musical director of the show, Adam Reid (despite his considerable talent), seems to take sadistic pleasure in punishing the poor pirates, and their leader, over and over in every rehearsal. (I see a great future for him in piracy, as a matter of fact.)
So, when you come to see Peter Pan – either this weekend or the next – spare a few thoughts for the bad guy. He’s doing the best that he can.
(Peter Pan, the Mudds new musical production, at the Carleton Place Town Hall: performances for the next two Fridays and Saturdays April 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 7:30 pm (tickets $20), with a special Thursday night performance April 28 at 7:30 pm and Sunday matineesApril 24 and 30 at 2:00 pm (tickets $15). Tickets are available at the Hallmark Store, 2-438 McNeeley Ave. in Carleton Place or by calling 613-253-3000.)
- Publicity shot – me (Captain Hook) and Lilly (Peter Pan) – note that my beard hasn’t been dyed black yet. And that’s not all my own hair. Peter is, as usual, looking for a fight.
- Londoner, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, another Londoner, Michael, John, Wendy, and a Londoner. Backstage, waiting to go on for the opening number.
- Mermaids! Actually, pirates don’t have much of a problem with mermaids.
- Evil Genius Musical Director Adam , in the orchestra pit, (henchmen in the background) preparing for final rehearsal and sadistic abuse of sensitive, caring, not at all evil Captain Hook.
(Photo credits: 1 – Angela Rogers; 2, 3, 4 – Kate Martin.)