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The Cappies is a writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Student critics vie to be published in local media outlets by attending productions at other schools and writing critical reviews.

THROUGH THE CAPPIES

Theatre and journalism students are trained as critics and attend each others shows. Cappies students discuss and learn about theatre production. Throughout the year, newspapers publish the reviews with the students' bylines. At the end of the year, Cappies student critics decide who among their peer performers and technicians should be recognized for awards at the end of the season with glamour and excitement.

HOW IT ALL WORKS

Each participating school selects a show to be attended, and also forms a team of 3 to 9 student critics and 2 adult volunteers in the fall. Shows may have between 20 and 90 critics in attendance. Critic teams and mentors gather in a private discussion room to perform pre, mid, and post show discussions. The technical and performance aspects of the show are discussed with provided documentation from the host school.

After each show, with adult oversight, the mentors and program director select the best written reviews to be sent to local press outlets. All the reviews are also sent back to the performing school.

At the end of the season, a Tonys-like celebration occurs, where all nominated shows perform a cutting or the critics' choice song, and the final Cappies awards are presented with a trophy by regional critics and peers.

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02May

Peter and the Starcatcher - W.T. Woodson High School - Fairfax, Virginia - April 29, 2017

Mallory Stokker

Freedom High School

 

Peter and the Starcatcher, based on the novel of the same name written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson and adapted for the stage by Rick Elice, serves as a prequel to the iconic tale of Peter Pan, like the fairytale version of a superhero origin story. The script features jokes, puns, running gags, and many other comedic elements, all of which were heartily embraced by the cast of W.T. Woodson's production. Using everything from outrageous physicality and bold acting choices to creative set pieces and quirky costumes, the cast of Peter and the Starcatcher at W.T. Woodson High School fully committed to both the comedy of the show and the emotional intensity of the few but poignant serious moments, providing for a hilarious and heartfelt experience.

 

Comedy was the focus of the show, and the cast excelled at bringing the humor in the script and stage directions to life. Caroline Grass who starred as the pirate captain Black Stache (who is set up to become Captain Hook by the end of the show), had the challenge of not only performing in a demanding comedic role but also playing a character of the opposite gender. Grass, however, was absolutely hilarious in her role and owned every aspect of the character using bold physicality and an affected accent. Her costume, including a flamboyant mustache, added to her character. Another comedic star of the show was Andrew Black, starring as Ted, a food-obsessed boy who is stuck on the Neverland ship with Peter (Jack Hopewell) and another future Lost Boy, Prentiss (Jacob Lamb). Black had excellent voice technique, comedic timing, and physicality throughout the show, and his final scene when he fell in love with a pineapple caused an uproar of laughter.

 

The male and female leads of the show, Peter (Jack Hopewell) and Molly (Caroline Orejuela), respectively, provided the basis for the show's occasional more serious moments, such as when Molly and Peter discuss their feelings for each other or the bittersweet moment at the end where Molly is forced to leave the boys behind, but they were no less stellar in their own comedic moments. One running gag that was particularly enjoyable was the constant contest for leadership between Molly and the hilariously pretentious Prentiss. The chemistry among Molly, Peter, Ted, and Prentiss was one of the highlights of the show.

 

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the show was how involved and enthusiastic the entire ensemble was. During running gags such as shouting "God save her!" every time the Queen was mentioned or all running out on stage and saying in unison "We can!" every time someone mentioned keeping a secret, their energy and enthusiasm were palpable. The entire cast struck a perfect balance between taking the show seriously enough to put on a great performance but also lightheartedly enough to embrace the humorously unrealistic parts of the show. Some examples are having ensemble members lift and carry people while waving blue and cloths to represent them "drowning" or "swimming," or gleefully announcing for the audience to please imagine a cat or bird flying in cases where things were supposed to be suspended by the magical substance, stardust. Overall, the involvement of the entire cast, creative sets and costumes, and comedic yet heartfelt performances contributed to a memorable and highly enjoyable performance of Peter and the Starcatcher.


 

Nick Geier

Teens and Theatre Company

 

We all know what we would wish to become; some, a soldier, and others, politicians, but as seen in W.T. Woodson High School's Peter and the Star Catcher, there is more to what we want to become than what "catches" the eye...

 

Written by Rick Elice as an adaptation of the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Star Catcher follows the story of an orphan (Jack Hopewell), later to become Peter Pan, who only longs to become a normal boy. Left as an orphan in Britain, he is taken upon the ship The Neverland to embark on a journey to become one of the king's helpers. While on the ship, Peter meets Molly (Caroline Orejuela), a star catcher whose father, also a star catcher is aboard another ship, The Wasp, attempting to destroy a box of precious starstuff which has been collected by order of the queen.  Starstuff, as its name implies, is the stuff of stars, and has the power to make anyone become what they wish to become, even someone they cannot imagine. After the ship is taken by pirates led by the ruthless Black Stache (Caroline Grass), Peter learns the true meaning of his journey, Peter decides to join Molly and protect the starstuff at what seems all costs and to return it to her father.

 

The cast W.T. Woodson did a fantastic job in presenting the play Peter and the Star Catcher.  From the beginning, sounds such as the creaking of the ships or the ocean waves on a tranquil beach led the audience directly into each of the scenes.  Embracing their characters with great energy, the actors were constantly engaged in each scene and used fantastic accents to bring their characters to even higher heights of believability.

 

The lead actor, Hopewell, brought Peter to life with emotions that  took the play to a new level of feeling--beginning with the timidity and anger that Peter felt when he is the lost boy in a dirty cabin on the ship to becoming confident and sure of himself when he becomes the Peter Pan we know him to be. Hopewell showed the audience who Peter truly was and what he became in an almost perfect manner.

 

What really stole the show were characters such as Black Stache and her right-hand man Smee (Meryn Holtslander).  Playing off each other with humor in every scene, the two brought life and laughter in the show, eliciting loud approval from the audience.

 

Aspects such as the enormous ships and the costumes such as those of Black Stache and his crew brought the show together nicely.  Although the set transitions were sometimes distracting from the show, the cast never faltered and continued to be the main attraction.

 

The cast of W.T. Woodson did a praiseworthy job in portraying the story of Peter and the Star Catcher, a perfect prequel to the story of Peter Pan that left the audience asking the same question: "What happens next?"

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