Hear from Sonia Norris, co-founder of The Rabbit’s Riot Theatre Company and designer of Peter Pan: Welcome to Neverland.
Faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust… has always been the best way to get through life. Somewhere, deep down, I have always had this inherent belief that, in some way or other, magic is real. Sure, everyone’s perception of magic is probably different… and I’m sure most adults don’t look for fairies in the woods when they go for a walk but there’s something in the air when the sun drops gold dust across the country or when the mist rolls in across the lake or when the first rays of light creep across the horizon that reminds us that there is magic hidden in the goodness of the world and sometimes, when we are least expecting it, the magic will show itself to us in a most unexpected manner.
Have you ever had a memory that you’ve struggled to determine if it was a dream or an actual event? Where the veil between imagination and reality has wavered? Where life stood still for a moment and anything and everything seemed possible? That is Never Never Land. Never Never Land is that place halfway between wake and sleep where we can’t be certain of reality and imagination, where the innocence and magic of children wins over the reality that often shrouds the world in darkness.
Although written over 100 years ago, Never Never Land is a place we can almost all relate to. In that place between wake and asleep where we face our demons, battle our enemies and celebrate our triumphs we feel love, terror, excitement, happiness and all manner of emotions throughout the roller-coaster adventures that take place across the Never Never Land where our dreams sometimes become memories and our memories often become dreams, where pirates are defeated and fairies can be talked to and lost boys rule the world.
As I sit writing this I think of all the pirate films, musicals,plays…Halloween costumes and wonder if there is any pirates as infamous as Captain James Hook of the Jolly Roger? His iconic missing extremity, the crocodile who ate it and his arch-enemy Peter Pan have stretched over generations, my grandparents and their parents grew up with the stories of Pan and Hook and even the youngest generation now still know the stories and are still captivated by the very idea of Never Never Land… J. M. Barrie’s characters have stood the test of time in every sense and they sit, mischievously, among the classics.
And so this brings me to the whole purpose of writing this blog… Hook! From the day we started The Rabbits Riot Theatre Company I have been dying to produce our own Peter Pan. As one of my favourite stories, it’s not really a surprise but also for the personal family connection.
Something we all love is a good ancestor story, we can rarely be one hundred percent certain of its validity but we can admire the family portraits and romanticize over the facts that led to the tale being told.
Quite some years ago, we sat in my grandparents little house, in the foothills of Mount Kenya, and questioned my grandparents on our ancestry, who did we come from? There have always been the painted portraits of family members from decades long past (one family member quite fancied himself a painter) and we always wondered who they were. They were all of my granny’s side of the family, the Hook side. Her sister, who fought and died in the war, was named Sonia Hook and is who I was named after (I have often considered changing my surname to Hook, just for the drama of it) and so the name ‘Hook’ always fascinated me that little bit more. The story goes that Sonia’s (and my granny’s) uncle was a Captain in the navy and socialized in London around the same time J.M. Barrie was socializing in London, late 1800’s to early 1900’s when Peter Pan the play was first being written and Captain Hook would make his debut appearance. Coincidentally, my great great uncles’ full name was Captain James Hook! And so the wonderful thought that an ancestor of mine inspired, possibly, the most infamous pirate to ever to sail the pages of literature and withstand the test of time, has always held a special place in my heart and is a story that will be passed down to all generations of the Hook family.
And so, we came to bring ‘Welcome to Neverland: Peter Pan’ to the Glens. With often so much darkness in the world, so many important and serious battles to fight, so much work to be done, we find it important, for grown ups as much as for children, to escape into the Never Never Land, to ride the winds with Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys, to remember the importance of our belief in magic in its purest form and in the power of the imagination and what, if we have a little faith, our imaginations can achieve.
Life is a journey, a flight through the magic of the universe, and if we don’t stop and admire the stars every now and again, we may miss it all and wake up one morning a serious grown up.
Peter Pan: Welcome to Neverland is on the 13-15 July. Tickets can be bought here or by phoning the Box Office at (071) 9855833.