Recital is in just THREE WEEKS! Is anyone else as excited as we are? We hope you enjoy getting to know our characters more through our CAST INTERVIEWS!
Our cast members have a unique perspective on their characters, since they’ve been spending so much time BEING them! We didn’t want to give up the chance to gain some insight into the Neverland characters.
Q: How would you describe your character and/or how are you similar or different?
Sophia: “Since May is very young, she’s quite immature and childlike…. [but] the thing that inspires me most about May is how courageous she is. She wasn’t afraid to stand up to the pirates…. [We’re similar because] we both always bring our teddy bears around with us.”
Angel: “Smee is one of those characters that people would say 'Well, he tries,' about. His goal in life is to be like Hook - strong, shrewd, and, well, evil. Even though Smee does terrible things, he is very lovable person. If I may use a quote from the book that helps describe this: 'Always after this [Wendy] felt that if you could have a pet pirate Smee would be her one.' I think that I am pretty similar to Smee, other than the fact that he is evil. Take out the whole 'evil' part, and Smee is a lovable, silly little human, which I think can describe me, at least at a small level. The main difference is probably that I try to be my own person, while Smee is trying to be Hook.”
Trinyti: “Wendy is mature, but still very adventurous and spirited…[It inspires me how] she is always reassuring May that everything is okay. Wendy is still a child but she displays such selflessness….I can relate to Wendy from my personal experience being the eldest child in my family.”
Collette: “I’d say Tiger Lily is very confident and mature for her age. She’s the leader and protector of her tribe next to her father, the Chief. She takes great pride in the things she accomplishes...I’m amazed at how she can have the great strength of a warrior, but the softness of a princess at the same time...I’m similar in the way that I’m not very reliant on others. I feel as though I can get things done the best if I do them myself. I feel different from her in that she’s very outspoken and tends to take the initiative.”
Rachel: “Captain Hook is an interesting character because although he is a pirate and the villain in the story, he still has a genteel air about him. In fact, J.M. Barrie (the author of Peter Pan) mentioned that Hook modeled himself after Charles II, so he’s a very sophisticated villain, in clothing as well as mannerisms. Going deeper, I think Hook is also afraid and envious of Peter, not just because Peter cut off Hook’s right hand and fed it to a crocodile, but because Peter has something Hook hasn’t had in a long time — youth, joy, and friendship. That makes Hook not just the villain, but almost the underdog; you feel just a little bit sorry for him. He probably just wants his hand back, after all.”
Lynnae: “Peter is youthful, adventurous, arrogant, and whimsical. He's a fun leader and is very sure of himself....Peter is completely fearless, and while I wish I was the same, I'm not. Though we do both have a desire to stay forever young, and that desire allows us to (mostly) be unbothered by the realities of adulthood. Of course I actually have to deal with adulting and Peter doesn't. 😭”
The cast members have the extra struggle of expressing their characters without words! Because their roles are silent, the cast has to be intentional about using thematic movements, facial expressions, and/or props to convey their characters’ motivations and personality.
Q: How do you express your character through dance?
Sophia: “Since my character [May] is silent, the teddy bear I use as a prop helps me get into character better.”
Angel: “I use A LOT a lot of facial expressions for Smee, and big moves, especially for acting scenes. My main face for Smee is a slight frown with one eyebrow raised, his attempt to look stern and evil.”
Trinyti: “For me personally I would say not a lot of effort goes into playing Wendy. It is a role that comes very naturally because I can relate to her so much... I express Wendy mostly through fluid ballet and lyrical. If I am still you will most likely find me standing in first position. Wendy has fun dancing while remaining elegant and graceful."
Collette: “I try to express [Tiger Lily's] strength through strong angular moments with flexed hands and feet, using modern technique and also capturing her softness with relaxed upper body, incorporating ballet and lyrical.”
Rachel: “As I play Captain Hook, I think about these three words: pompous, intimidating, and vengeful. Those words help me determine my carriage, choreography, and countenance. For example... to help communicate Hook’s genteel air and pompousness, height and posture is very important. I usually have Hook standing tall and erect. His hat also helps add some height, and whenever possible he’s standing on his ship to create an even more over-bearing presence. For intimidation, his hook definitely helps with that! I also make sure that Hook is always scowling or looking disgusted or mournful. In fact, he only looks happy when he’s plotting against Peter! Lastly, I think of vengeance as the passion that drives Hook. But it’s also his weakness — the only time he 'loses his cool' is with Peter. Then Hook becomes desperate, with a touch of evil glee, and more frantic movements are the result.”
Lynnae: "I use bigger facial expressions. A sly smirk, especially when fighting or talking about myself. I use the iconic poses—hands on hips with feet apart, or the 'flying pose' while pointing towards the sky, or just sitting more boyishly while on the rock. And I put twists on each move to make it more 'Peter,' like adding a bit of a skip/bounce to all of my walks."
As any dancer or character could tell you, getting ready for a production takes a lot of time and hard work. But it’s also a lot of fun and a great time for making memories!
Q: What has been your favorite part of playing your role, and how do you think you’ve grown?
Sophia: “My favorite part about playing this role is getting to interact with the other characters that I normally wouldn’t interact with….Since I haven’t done much acting in the past, I feel like my acting skills have grown.”
Angel: “Well, number one, I just love being able to be a character. Smee is also really fun for me, because I get to be silly on stage (everybody’s dream, right? 😂). Smee also isn’t as big of a character as some others, so I get to decide how I am going to play him and how he would react to different situations…. [Being Smee] has really challenged me to work on my expressions and the way I perform my dance moves. I tend to forget to put a lot of feeling into my dancing, so needing to actually be in character for a dance, and not just an acting scene, has really helped me work on putting some purpose and feeling into my dancing.”
Trinyti: “I love our cast so much, working with them has been a blast…. This role has pushed me outside my comfort zone with acting and interacting with other characters.”
Collette: “I’m a pretty shy person so I love it that when I’m on stage or in the studio playing her, that suddenly I am very confident in my dancing and my overall attitude changes as my timid demeanor almost fades away….This role has definitely pushed my acting ability out of my comfort zone and improved my use of facial expressions.”
Rachel: “I actually love playing bad guys — there’s just so much you can do with them! Hook has a tremendous personality that I can draw from for expression and energy. Also, my younger sister is playing Smee, and a lot of the students I teach are pirates, so it’s been really special having that time on the stage together… Of course, it’s been very challenging not only performing and dancing, but also teaching, organizing, and directing!”
Lynnae: “[My favorite part is that] I get to be a kid again. While in character I get to have the amazing mind of a child. Also, the stunts🤣. They're a bit scary but actually a nice adrenaline rush and a big help of stepping outside of my comfort zone....Having a main role requires lots of practice and dedication. This role has given me a new sense of responsibility.”
The Neverland Dance Production is for anyone and everyone, no matter the age. We hope that the audience will love the story and the dances just as much as we do!
Q: How do you think the audience will enjoy or be inspired by the production?
Sophia: “I think the whole family would enjoy the production. It would bring back memories for the adults and it can inspire kids to use their imagination.”
Angel: “I absolutely love the message of this story. It really inspires me thinking about the fact that we really do need to keep a childlike mind as we grow up. Although we need to grow up in certain things, keeping a childlike joy, faith, and trust is very important.”
Trinyti: “I hope that it will inspire people to still dream like they did as children. We all have to grow up but it doesn’t mean we have to give up on our dreams.”
Collette: “I think there are overlying morals but also individual lessons with each character. As far as Tiger Lily is concerned, she learns that it’s okay to trust others and make friends, to rely on other people is not a sign of weakness, and that having fun and being a kid is alright.”
Rachel: “What inspires me is the story's plea to always stay young at heart: to be ever joyful, ever trusting, eager to be friends, and always determined to do the right thing. That is the great challenge in life, isn’t it? That as we mature and grow in our purpose and responsibilities, we also retain the purity, simplicity, and hopefulness of a child.”
Lynnae: “The theme of believing in yourself in the story is truly inspiring. If you believe you can't fly, you can't. If you don't believe in fairies, one will die. You have to believe….Of course the spirit of childhood is going to inspire people who already know the story and those who don't. But I love just about every dance this year, and I think some audience members will be inspired to join dance or try new genres of dance."
What did you think of these interviews? Are there any questions you would like the cast members to answer? Let us know in the comments below!