Author Topic: The Man Who Was Peter Pan  (Read 19797 times)

Hannah High

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The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« on: June 09, 2005, 03:59:32 AM »
I have been searching for that play for quite some time.



According to the bonus features on Finding Neverland, I've heard some interesting details, but was I wondering if anyone knew where to find it.



The man, who wrote it also wrote a musical for Little Woman...but on that site there's not much information...and the web always directs me straight to Finding Neverland (I know the script was based on this play). Even on this Peter Pan website, I couldn't find much help...anyone know...has anyone read it?



Andrew, I think you read the script...but not the play...or am I wrong?

ecb

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The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2005, 01:29:00 PM »
All I've ever been able to find were a few reviews - here is one from the New York Times - inaccuracy began with the play so it seems:

Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company
The New York Times

March 26, 1998, Thursday, Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section E; Page 5; Column 1; The Arts/Cultural Desk

LENGTH: 565 words

HEADLINE: THEATER REVIEW;
The Man Who Created 'Peter Pan'

BYLINE:  By D. J. R. BRUCKNER

BODY:
In "The Man Who Was Peter Pan" the playwright Allan Knee has performed an
extraordinary act of imagination: he has removed Freud from the world, and
it is an astonishingly different place for that. And the 42d Street Workshop
has found six actors who make that world -- the turn-of-the-century London
that was home to Sir James Barrie, the four Davies boys who inspired his
play "Peter Pan" and their mother -- natural, affecting and distinctly odd.

The toughest roles are the boys, who grow from childhood into teen-agers and
young adults during the play. For the first few minutes one hesitates to
accept these grown-up actors as children, but the reluctance disappears
quickly and entirely. Bruce Barney as George, Jordan Roth as Jack, Tommy
Walsh as Peter and Nicholas Joy as Michael capture the spirit of children so
perfectly that as they grow up during the next two hours, one understands
Barrie's regret that they are changing into young men. Joe Barrett as Barrie
says little enough about that emotion, but he lets the audience feel its
poignancy in a way that endows Barrie's complicated attachment to these boys
with a kind of innocent wisdom. That impression is given depth by Holly
Hawkins as the children's widowed mother, who is at first puzzled by
Barrie's interest in them but never put off by it and whose growing
affection for the playwright becomes almost palpable before she dies,
leaving them to him by making him their ward. Bennett Windheim's direction
is delicate enough to let the force of the affections among these people
build until one is quite surprised at how strong it is.

This is not Mr. Knee's best script. He might have deepened Barrie's
character if he had given Barrie's absent wife more than a few mentions, and
some viewers will find it odd that there is scarcely a word about Barrie's
other plays or novels, though it was his books and one play especially, "The
Admirable Crichton," that allowed him to buy a house for the Davies family
and to send the boys to England's best schools.

The concentration here is solely and intensely on the strange relationship
between the man and the family he carefully contrived to acquire, and it is
a tribute to Mr. Knee, the director and the cast that at the end one is
enfolded in it, understands it and knows it is very strange indeed. Here
Peter Davies, whose name Barrie took for Peter Pan, is the key. As the boy,
Mr. Walsh gets the uncomprehending resentment of youth right: there is
almost a kind of priggishness in his attitude toward Barrie until at last he
is alone with the older man -- George having died in the trenches of World
War I, Jack having gone to America and Michael having drowned as a teen-ager
-- and his loneliness cracks his reserve in a moment that is terrible for
being so quiet.

THE MAN WHO WAS PETER PAN

By Allan Knee; directed by Bennett Windheim; sets by Dennis Eisenberg;
costumes by Agneta Eckemyr; lighting by Izzy Einsidler; original composition
and sound by Scott O'Brien; dialects, K. C. Ligon; associate producer,
Michele Gutman; stage manager, Sandy Moore. Presented by the 42d Street
Workshop, Michelle Bouchard and Jim DeMarse, artistic directors. At 432 West
42d Street, fifth floor, Clinton.

and here is another one:

The Man Who Was Peter Pan. (42nd Street Workshop, New York, New
York)_(theater reviews) Victor Gluck.
Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1998 BPI Communications

Sir James M. Barrie was once among the most well-known play-wrights in the
world, with such hits as "What Every Woman Knows" and "The Admirable
Criebton. "Today his lame rests exclusively on "Peter Pan." In "The Man Who
Was Peter Pan," Allan Knee has attempted to explore the factors that led the
mature author to rite so well about the joys of childhood.

According to the play, at the time that the lonely Barrie's marriage is
breaking up, he meets the Lleweyn Davies brothers, who have just lost their
father. Barrie becomes fast friends with them, sharing in their games.
Eventually he becomes friends with their mother, Sylvia, and becomes part of
the family. In an attempt to impress Peter, who wants to be a writer. Barrie
decides to name Peter Pan after him.

For a modem viewer the play never deals with Barrie's unresolved fascination
with the boys. Was it latent homosexuality, the need for a readymade family,
or his unused paternal instinct? Knee creates all kinds of undereurrents hut
pulls back without making any revelations.

The play is as beautifully written in Edwardian style as it is beautifully
directed by Bennett Windheim. Joe Barrett is magnificent as the conflicted
Scottish author. The actors playing the young men from adolescence to
service in WWI give truly believable performances; Bruce Barney as the
oldest but most loving; Tommy Walsh as the angry, creative Peter; Jordan
Roth as the theatrical, wise Jack; and Nicholas Joy as the spiritual
youngest, Michael.

As the mother Who falls in love with Barrie, Holly Hawkins also gives a
lovely, subtle performance. The unit set by Dennis Eisenberg allows for the
swiftly moving cinematic feel or the play, while Agneta Eckemyr's costumes
allow the actors to age 10 years in the course of the evening.

Presented by and at the 42nd Street Workshop, 432 W. 42nd St., NYC, March
11-28.

Review Grade: A

TheWendybird

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2009, 04:54:52 AM »
I would love to get my hands on this play to put off as well. I'd really love to put something like this off about Barrie....doesn't even have to be this one..I would just love to put off a play about him. If anyone knows anything about a version I can get please let me know!

MLD

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 08:40:14 PM »
Put off?  Do you mean produce? 
I have a copy of this play.  It is not published and no amateur rights appear to be available. 

Hannah High

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2009, 04:01:19 AM »
God, I started this topic long ago! I remembering when I was 15 or so writing to Allan Knee, asking where I could find his play. He was such a nice guy (from what a kid could gather from e-mails at the time, I don't know him in real life) and wrote to me several times about making it into a musical. He never answered my question about the original play though, which I heard was quite different from the Finding Neverland film, which is why I wanted to read it and find out more about Barrie. Stopped looking for it years ago, not too long after I discoverd Birkin's version of story and every PP adapatation or idea of Barrie prior to that erased from memory. Anyone seen any productions of this one?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 04:04:13 AM by Hannah High »

TheWendybird

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2009, 04:03:49 AM »
God, I started this topic long ago! I remembering when I was 15 or so writing to Allan Knee, asking where I could find his play. He was such a nice guy (from what a kid could gather from e-mails at the time, I don't know him in real life) and wrote to me several times about making it into a musical. He never answered my question about the original play though, which I heard was quite different from the Finding Neverland film, which is why I wanted to read it and find out more about Barrie. Stopped looking for it years ago, not too long after I discoverd Birkin's version of story and every PP adapatation or idea of Barrie prior to that erased from memory.  

There needs to be a really good play about Barrie available for the public to do...more people need to hear his story.

AlexanderDavid

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2009, 04:09:53 AM »
God, I started this topic long ago! I remembering when I was 15 or so writing to Allan Knee, asking where I could find his play. He was such a nice guy (from what a kid could gather from e-mails at the time, I don't know him in real life) and wrote to me several times about making it into a musical. He never answered my question about the original play though, which I heard was quite different from the Finding Neverland film, which is why I wanted to read it and find out more about Barrie. Stopped looking for it years ago, not too long after I discoverd Birkin's version of story and every PP adapatation or idea of Barrie prior to that erased from memory. Anyone seen any productions of this one?

I haven't, but just from this one post alone I wish I had--if you're right about it being different from Finding Neverland, I would very much like to see it.  Not trying to come down on the movie, which has its good points, but even when I first saw it (and thus knew nothing of the historical truth behind it) I couldn't figure out how Barrie got "Peter Pan" from that at all.  Since then I've been thinking about how I would go about it, taking no more liberties than what would be necessary to condense the story, and I think my idea could work.

TheWendybird

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2009, 04:20:15 AM »
God, I started this topic long ago! I remembering when I was 15 or so writing to Allan Knee, asking where I could find his play. He was such a nice guy (from what a kid could gather from e-mails at the time, I don't know him in real life) and wrote to me several times about making it into a musical. He never answered my question about the original play though, which I heard was quite different from the Finding Neverland film, which is why I wanted to read it and find out more about Barrie. Stopped looking for it years ago, not too long after I discoverd Birkin's version of story and every PP adapatation or idea of Barrie prior to that erased from memory. Anyone seen any productions of this one?

I haven't, but just from this one post alone I wish I had--if you're right about it being different from Finding Neverland, I would very much like to see it.  Not trying to come down on the movie, which has its good points, but even when I first saw it (and thus knew nothing of the historical truth behind it) I couldn't figure out how Barrie got "Peter Pan" from that at all.  Since then I've been thinking about how I would go about it, taking no more liberties than what would be necessary to condense the story, and I think my idea could work.

You should write it :D

ecb

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2009, 06:04:02 PM »
I think that if you read the reviews of the play (which I posted earlier in this thread), you can see that the play was no closer to the historical reality than the FN movie.  I remember when I heard about the play (which was before the FN movie was made) I thought - but it's wrong!

When I heard about the FN movie being made and I heard that it was Knee's play they were using source material, I was disappointed.  Changing the boys' characters, changing the chronology and totally eliminating both Arthur AND Nico - (both of whom I really liked when I read Andrew's book - Arthur for his calm goodness and bravery and Nico for his blessed cheerfulness - Good heavens you can never have enough cheerfulness - especially in that family!!) - anyway it really annoyed me!

AlexanderDavid

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Re: The Man Who Was Peter Pan
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 07:56:07 PM »
I think that if you read the reviews of the play (which I posted earlier in this thread), you can see that the play was no closer to the historical reality than the FN movie.  I remember when I heard about the play (which was before the FN movie was made) I thought - but it's wrong!

When I heard about the FN movie being made and I heard that it was Knee's play they were using source material, I was disappointed.  Changing the boys' characters, changing the chronology and totally eliminating both Arthur AND Nico - (both of whom I really liked when I read Andrew's book - Arthur for his calm goodness and bravery and Nico for his blessed cheerfulness - Good heavens you can never have enough cheerfulness - especially in that family!!) - anyway it really annoyed me!

Mm, yeah, that makes more sense.  Peter Pan is one story that you can't divorce from the story of how it was created.  Maybe stylize and simplify, but change too much and you have people not knowing how the famous tale came from the events they're seeing.