Pick of the Day: Peter Pan

Since the late '90s the Globe Theatre has scheduled a family-friendly musical in the run-up to Christmas as a way of celebrating the holiday season and heightening the theatre's profile in the city. It used to be something of a tradition, in fact, for us to do a cover story on the production. The Secret Garden. Beauty & the Beast. The Hobbit. All were featured in our magazine.

Gradually, though, we lost our enthusiasm for doing that. It's not that we dislike musicals. Even family-friendly ones. Although, I guess, in all truthfulness, we're not really a family-friendly magazine. Judging from our Facebook page, we have plenty of fans among high school and university students. With most of the stuff we write about, they'd qualify as a target market. Elementary school students, however, and pre-schoolers, aren't really on our radar. Oh, when something like the Backyardigans or Doodlebops pass through town we'll list them in our 14 Days section. But we're not likely to spill any more ink on them, unless its along the lines of a story like the one Rosie did a few years ago where he excoriated the Wiggles I think it was for their overly sophisticated approach to marketing to children.

I myself, when doing the Beauty & the Beast feature five or six years ago, had great fun talking with University of Regina English prof Nick Ruddick about the historical significance of fairy tales in our culture and how they were once intended to instruct children in the harsh realities of life. In the modern era, though, thanks to Disney and other purveyors of family-friendly pap, most of the stories had been watered down and recast as feel-good narratives of the happily ever after variety.

Peter Pan, which is on at the Globe until Dec. 27, offers similarly rich ground for socio-cultural analysis. In fact, the term Peter Pan Syndrome has even been coined by pop psychologists to describe men who, through their lack of emotional engagement with the adult world and pursuit of typically adolescent activities, refuse to grow up. Had I done a feature on this musical, that's likely the angle I would have exploited.

That's not going to happen, though. To conclude this post, here's a scene from Disney's 1954 animated classic Peter Pan that probably didn't make the cut in the Globe production. (YouTube)

1 comment:

Barb Saylor said...

Talk about damning with faint praise.