High-school actors wander into Neverland

Middle-school actors recently auditioned for the spring musical, “Peter Pan Jr.” — and, perhaps surprisingly, so did a number of those in high school. Director Maureen Fallon explains the decision to incorporate older actors in the middle-school production scheduled for Feb. 17.

“‘Peter Pan’ is a really big cast. In most shows, you can be a couple of different things but in Peter Pan there’s so many little groups, none of them can have the same people,” Fallon said. “So, instead of using the normal 35 or 40 middle-school kids, we also needed more on top of that. The easiest thing to do was to make the pirates high-schoolers because the pirates should be bigger and older, so I decided to do that.”

Sophomore Rudi Larkin has been given the principal part of “John” in the musical.

“When I first saw the cast list, I was definitely surprised, not only because I was cast as John but because of all of the high-school kids put into roles,” Larkin said. “I have no shame at all being cast as a high-schooler in a middle-school show. This is an opportunity to show I am able to handle a (semi) lead and it will only make me try harder.”

However, Larkin said he has found it to be a bit difficult with having the majority of his fellow cast-mates to be middle-school students.

“The largest issue with working with middle-schoolers is their lack of focus, not to undermine the effort that they all put in, some of them just can’t seem to be quiet when Ms. Fallon is giving direction,” he said.

Fallon knows the challenges that comes along when working with middle-school, but she remains confident she’s made the right decision.

“I think [Rudi] will be a good group leader for that basic group of kids,” Fallon said. “It’s a pretty good group of middle-schoolers, the ones who are playing the principal roles are pretty mature. That’s kind of a reason why they were chosen.”

Seventh-grader Deklyn G., who will play “Peter,” said he’s looking forward to having high-schoolers as his co-stars as he gets to know them more during rehearsals.

“I think the high-schoolers will make great teachers for all the sevies that have never done theater, and they will be able to get the middle-schoolers on the right track,” Dekly said. “I’m really glad the high-schoolers and the middle-schoolers are mixing,”

By Jade Norton

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the inclusion of middle-schoolers’ last names on district-sponsored websites.