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Theater: Wendy and Peter Pan grew up too fast

It looks like the Adams family posing for a photo in the late 19th century.

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Theater: Wendy and Peter Pan grew up too fast

It looks like the Adams family posing for a photo in the late 19th century. Dressed up and in costume, the actors freeze for a second, then speak to present the role(s) they are going to play in front of the audience. Wendy (Judith Henry) in a ponytail and pantsuit. His brother John (Loïc Varraut) has gray hair, a vest and glasses. Their parents, Madame Darling (Agathe L'Huillier) and Monsieur Darling (Bruno Bayeux). Peter Pan is there, of course, but pot-bellied under a sparkling green jacket (Eddy Letexier). As for Captain Hook (unrecognizable Bruno Bayeux), who lost an arm because of him, he intends to take revenge.

After Fracasse, according to Théophile Gautier in 2020, Jean-Christophe Hembert read and reread Peter Pan and Wendy, the novel by James Matthew Barrie published in 1911, to transpose it to the theater in the spirit of the author. The former assistant of Roger Planchon, also noted in the Kaamelott series, also closely studied the play that the Scottish writer wrote before the book, in 1904. The director evokes Peter Pan, the boy who refuses to grow up, therefore, but as the title of his show, Wendy and Peter Pan, indicates, he preferred to follow in the footsteps of the heroine, who became the mother of a little girl and did not lost his childish soul. “ It’s sacred to believe in what has disappeared,” she recalls.

You have to forget the more than embellished animated film from Walt Disney Studios (1953) to be able to enter this show played only by adults. The members of the poorly named “Darling” family would delight Françoise Dolto and Freud. In Jean-Christophe Hembert's production, the father calculates that they have just enough money to keep Wendy and the mother gives kisses in dribs and drabs. Exit Tinkerbell and her magical powers. Her alcoholic replacement, Tinker Bell (her original name), has deleted her and her favorite insult is “ass head.” Finally, Peter Pan is more in the background and prefers that the Lost Children not grow up.

“And you, do you still believe in fairies? », However, one of the characters asks the audience. Several “yes” come out, including those from the youngest, who seem to enjoy the story despite the shadow play, the red lights and the distressing music. James Matthew Barrie himself had lost himself in the twists and turns of his imagination. He had things to sort out. He was barely 7 years old when his younger brother, his mother's favorite, died in an ice skating accident. Nicknamed Jimmy, the playwright refused for a long time to become an independent adult.

Jean-Christophe Hembert confides that he too got lost in “Neverland”, the land of never. According to him, “both the work and the character (of Peter Pan) are elusive.” To benefit from our adaptation, we must in turn accept getting lost, playing at pretending to be big.

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