The Fall Drama is Here!

Its November, which means that while most students are breathing a sigh of relief as the first quarter comes to a close, the members of West Morris Central Theatre are gearing up for the Fall Drama. This year they will be putting on four performances of Wendy and Peter Pan, and Mr. Hogan was kind enough to tell us about the production. Originally produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the play re-tells the story of Peter Pan in a Shakespearean narrative structure. “You have the Darling children, the Lost Boys, the Pirates, and the Shadows,” Mr. Hogan explained. “Then you also have some outside characters that don’t seem to fit in with any one group in particular. Even in terms of dramatic build up, the play mirrors works like Romeo & Juliet and Midsummer. So while the language is written in modern English, the structure is very much Shakespearean in nature.” He also noted the juvenescent and feminist themes of the play. “The playwright puts a lot of focus on family, childhood wonder, and imagination,” he observed. “She also explores the notion of personal responsibility and overcoming the limitations society places on one’s gender.”

Just as important as the content of the play however, is the context in which it is being produced. Despite the limitations that come with trying to put together and rehearse a play during a global pandemic, the members of Central Theatre continue to persevere. Mr. Hogan expressed that he was proud of his students, “for continuing to exercise their passion despite the limitations we are facing in rehearsals due to the consequences of the pandemic.” He also stressed the importance of art in the context of public education. “We have great programs at the school and many students who have incredibly strong artistic voices that deserve to be heard.”

Central Theatre students constructing the set on Wednesday.

West Morris Central’s theatre program has won trophies at Montclair State’s annual Theatre Night Awards every year since 2016, and their productions are generally known for their high quality. Despite this, the prospect of competition is not the driving force behind their dedication. “It is always nice to receive outside recognition,” said Mr. Hogan. “But I make it clear to my students that we don’t do what we do for awards. We do it to uphold the integrity of a story, communicate a message, and offer representation to the diverse members of our audience.”

And so the true value of Central Theatre’s production lies in the value of art in general. “Art heals, art promotes, art inspires.” explained Mr. Hogan. “It is the gateway for human expression and enlightenment. In addition, arts programs promote compassion and empathy and combat feelings of isolation. In our divided world today, that is precisely what we need more of.”

There will be four performances of Wendy and Peter Pan in November, on the 11th, 12th, and two on the 13th of November. Visit the Central Theatre PowerSchool page here to buy tickets and learn more!