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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

MMNT takes off to Neverland with their latest production

Costume+sketches+for+Peter+and+The+Starcatcher+designed+by+Cassidy+Barber.
Gabrielle Caumon / Staff Writer
Costume sketches for “Peter and The Starcatcher” designed by Cassidy Barber.

Following up the showings of “Antigonick” and “The Wolves”, Mary Moody Northen Theatre comes back this semester with “Peter and The Starcatcher” as the third production of the season. Alumni Ben Wolfe, ’99, leads the vision for the “Peter Pan” prequel.

“It’s a story about discovering who you are, where you fit and what’s your place in the world,” Wolfe said. “It’s also a story about learning what constitutes a family. That is for me the biggest journey.”

Familiar with the hilltop, directing “Peter and The Starcatcher” is almost like a homecoming for Wolfe. He was the guest artist for the productions of “Peer Gynt” (2010), “Carousel” (2011), “Blood Wedding” (2013) and “Middletown” (2018), and was recently seen as Harper in “The Miser” in the fall of 2022. He was also the guest director for a COVID-19-conscious production of “Twelfth Night” in the spring of 2021. 

Guest director Ben Wolfe working with his actors during one of the rehearsals. “Peter and The Starcatcher” opens on the 14th of February. Get your tickets! (Gabrielle Caumon)

Taking place in England during the Victorian era, the story in this latest production features the origins of Peter Pan, Molly Aster, the Lost Boys and the legendary Captain Hook. “Peter and The Starcatcher” explores the paths of those iconic characters and ventures into their relationships that we know all too well.

“Everybody has their own, unique path in terms of discovering who they are or what they’re looking for, which is really a lot of fun to play with,” Wolfe said. “A sort of blossom from the beginning to the end.”

For some actors, this play brings out childhood nostalgia. Released in 1953, “Peter Pan” is one of the first original Walt Disney productions. 

“When I found that I was cast, I think that was genuinely the most fulfilling moment as an actor for me,” senior Kelly Moncla said. “The first show I have memory of seeing as a kid with my mom was the production of ‘Peter Pan,’ so getting to be Peter in this show is very full circle for me, especially as it’s my senior year of college.”

Fresh off the plane from New York, Equity Guest Maclain Dassatti is set to embody Black Stache — the future Captain Hook. For Dassatti, becoming a mentor for the student actors is important because he started in their shoes. He had the same kind of program in college theater where he got to work with guest artists, including actors who went on to perform on Broadway.

The kids are extremely talented, they’re a great group to be around, they’re really fun,” Dassatti said. “I just hope to be an example for them that they can bring with them once they leave this program and go on to their own professional careers.”  

The cast working hard on the MMNT’s set to bring into life the “Peter and The Starcatcher” production. (Gabrielle Caumon)

Wolfe shares a similar experience of connecting with the St. Edward’s Department of Performing Arts students. 

“The first time I was a guest artist at St. Ed’s, opening night, we were all waiting for our first entrance,” Wolfe said. “I was one of the last people to come in, so I had 6-10 students in front of me waiting for that first entrance, and I could see their heads bouncing because they were so excited. It really sort of energized me as well, and brought that excitement back.”

Unfortunately, “Peter and The Starcatcher,” which was supposed to open on Feb. 8, has been postponed to Feb. 14 due to several COVID-19 cases within the cast. 

“We’re still living in the world of (COVID-19), so there is this new challenge on top of it,” Wolfe said. “There is a greater sculpt to this one that I am having to tackle. It’s a lot of fun. There is a lot of puzzles, (and) there is a lot of challenges.”

According to Wolfe, one of the biggest challenges of this play is the significant diversity of locations. With his team, they are trying to be as creative as they can to build the environment that will soon surround the audience. 

“Getting to shape how this world is going to look like, based on the input that I am receiving from all (of) the department, is really thrilling and a lot of fun,” Wolfe said.

Barber working on the Black Stache costume. “What I love is that I never thought of myself as a Black Stache/Captain Hook type,” Equity Guest Maclain Dassatti said. “As I get to play with him more and more, I go ‘Oh my gosh, it’s me!” (Gabrielle Caumon / Staff Writer)

Senior Cassidy Barber is the costume designer for the production. She worked in the costume shop since her freshman year and feels that she has been well prepared for this responsibility by her professors. Barber built her way up to arrive in this position and sees this project as her final thesis. 

“As I’ve been working on the show, it’s about growing up and how we deal with that,” Barber said. “As I’m going on in this next chapter of my life, since I’m about to graduate in May, it’s meaningful for me because I just want to stay a kid, but It’s like ‘no’ — you have to move on, grow up and enjoy all the moments along the way.”

Costume of Molly Aster designed by Barber. “Molly is very adventurous, very smart and she likes to learn things,” Annika Roberts, who plays Molly, said. “She’s also a little bossy and she’s very strong.” (Gabrielle Caumon)

The new opening night will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m, and the show will run through Feb. 18. Evening performances will occur on Feb. 14 through Feb. 16, and two matinee performances will occur Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be bought online or with Topper Tender directly at the box office. 

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Caumon, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Caumon is a junior from Paris, France, who is pursuing a major in the BFA Acting program and a minor in Journalism. This is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and her first as a Staff Writer. She loves writing for the Life & Arts section, and is excited to branch out and try out other genres.

Comments (4)

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  • I

    Izzy DuvalFeb 18, 2024 at 8:04 pm

    This is so awesome and such a great article! Love your work, Gaby! ❤️

    Reply
  • C

    Castex DeniseJan 31, 2024 at 5:02 am

    I know who you are, you are the best Gaby.

    Reply
  • R

    Reagan JonesJan 30, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Wow, Great read!! I’m SOO excited to see Peter and The Starcatcher!!!

    Reply
  • L

    Liam MolinaJan 30, 2024 at 11:29 am

    Great coverage Gaby!

    Reply