Niwot Theater Reaches for the Stars

Elise Jensen, Reporter

The Niwot theater program makes a triumphant return after a year and a half with their first in-person show since March of 2020. Our beloved program presented “Peter and the Star Catcher”, the story behind Peter Pan and Neverland itself. Starring seniors Maddi Stapp and Ethan Rauschkolb, along with the crew of misfits on the ship named Neverland, the audience explores why a boy doesn’t want to grow up and how Neverland came to be. This story isn’t like the famous Walt Disney story, with Peter Pan whisking the Darling children to the second star on the right, but full of quirky and original jokes that had both the high schoolers and adults laughing in the audience. 


Before the actors even set foot into a rehearsal, our Niwot Theater Department was working hard at creating a beautiful and grand set for the play. Their hard work eventually paid off with a golden arch framing the stage, with little insights and references hidden inside the arch to the play. Replicas of the Neverland ship, skulls and mermaid tails, and even a pineapple to top it all off, the technical crew did an amazing job with creating a beautiful and meaningful set. Staying after school, working tireless hours to create a beautiful set full of rich greenery, the ships in which our characters sailed on, and the stands that would ultimately record the entire show. Without the technical program and the help of Mr. Watkins, the performance of “Peter and the Star Catcher” would not have been as marvelous as it was. 


Starting rehearsals in late September, the theater department and their newest director, Ms. Wainshal, faced a lot of challenges with the COVID precautions and getting back into the routine again since their last in person performance, “Addams Family”. “We started with one scene everyday, whether it was going over blocking, lines, or dancing, we did it together,” says senior Maddi Stapp. Community was a large part of getting this play off the ground and running, since a lot of the work was done by students alongside teachers. Senior Aliyah Backus says that “even though Wainshal was our director, we did a lot by ourselves. For instance, I choreographed and taught the actors the dances for the play, Wianna Rickford (senior) created the costumes for a majority of the cast, and during dress rehearsals and performances, we all did our own makeup. It’s really something special to see an entire project come together knowing how much of it was student run.”


However, not all was so smoothly run, especially leading up to tech week. “Tech week was definitely frantic,” Mercer Stauch(Senior) says “we started rehearsals at 3 and went until about 8 or 9 trying to get it perfect. We even had 4 extra rehearsals to prepare for the show. Luckily by about the fourth day, it all fell into place.” And that it did, with opening night being a slam hit, even though the actors never knew what the audience was going to find funny. “It was always a surprise to us at what each audience would laugh at, and it would really be a hit or miss sometimes” says Ethan. And even then, each audience may not have found the same act as funny as the other. “We started to notice that people laughed more during the second act, which makes sense since act one is the recipe and gathering of ingredients, while act two is making and eating the cake” says Ethan during an aftershow interview. Even with this, the actors let us know that it wasn’t always perfect, sometimes having to improve lines and say complete randomness, but that’s what makes theater amazing. 


In the end, the show was a great success and an amazing way to start a new area of COVID precaution shows, even if it wasn’t perfect circumstances. With the amazing cast, set, and technical crew, Niwot kicked off its first show since its intermission, and this act was marvelous to see in person. The next show to be presented by the Niwot Theater program is Mamma Mia! on March 3rd through the 6th, so make sure to save the date! Congratulations to the theater department and the technical crew for putting together such an amazing show!