Saturday, August 2, 2014

Peter Pan unleashes imagination

Forever young — Students Colton Montgomery (left) and Caleb Hughes (middle) collaborated with other underclassmen and alumni for the production of Peter Pan which opened April 13 in the Tower Theater. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

“I think the word I would use to describe the show is ‘magical,’” Liberty junior Carson Burkett, who played John Darling, said as he interacted with the crowd after Peter Pan’s opening performance.

The musical Peter Pan, which is Alluvion Stage Company’s première production, took flight Friday, April 13. The show, which is based on the original play by Sir James M. Barrie, soared with imaginative sets and colorful characters, entertaining people of all ages.

“This was above and beyond anything I could have expected,” Lynchburg resident Latonya Carter, who came with her 8-year-old daughter, said. “I’ve traveled and taken Sydney to see different things since she was little in Richmond and other areas. To have this here is awesome.”

To Neverland — The play’s villain, Captain Hook, played by Nelson, causes chaos for the band of travelers. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

Student actors and alumni performed together for this well-known story of the boy who never grew up, taking on the roles of pirates, fairies, Indians and children whose imagination and energy offered valuable lessons.

“This performance is more geared toward the adults because it’s all about growing up and realizing the responsibility of what that entails,” Burkett said. “It’s kind of tragic that everyone decides to grow up except for Peter. So in that aspect, I feel we’ve geared it more toward the adults, but the kids still find it beautiful and hysterical and love it.”

Alluvion Stage Company, a not-for-profit professional theater company that operates in conjunction with Liberty University, has opened doors for alumni to return to the Tower Theater stage to act alongside current underclassmen.

“It’s very surreal to be in a professional company that took its birth from where you went to school. It’s such an amazing opportunity that they asked me to be in it,” 2011 Liberty graduate Sarah Haley, who returned to perform as an ensemble member, said.

Other alumni who returned for Peter Pan were Erica Geffken, David Pickle, Laura Henriquez, Lynnae Gerbracht and Liberty’s Professor Chris Nelson, who brought the role of Captain Hook to life.

“There is so much energy up on the stage. It’s great,” Nelson said. “It’s fun being up on the stage with the students, just acting, listening and enjoying the characters of the story.”

According to Director Linda Nell Cooper, seeing the mix of graduates and current students interact on stage was an exciting experience.

“It was fun working with the alumni again and seeing them mix and mingle with the underclassmen,” Cooper said, “and realizing they went before them and really got the underclassmen to where they are now, and just seeing that heritage and that history mix together.”

The Alluvion cast will be performing Peter Pan in Liberty’s Tower Theater April 19 through 21 and 26 through 28 at 7:30 p.m., April 21 and 28 at 2 p.m., April 22 and 29 at 2:30 p.m. and April 24 for school groups at 10 a.m.

For more information about Alluvion and the Peter Pan production, visit alluvionstage.com.

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