R-MC Theatre Department Presents: Peter and the Starcatcher

Veronica Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief

Randolph-Macon has been growing its performing arts department over the past few years, and the Blackwell Gala held on the weekend of the 29th of August attested to that growth. With the introduction of the new Cobb-Kesler theater, our theatre department worked long and hard to put together a showing of Peter and the Starcatcher, a humorous play adapted from the novel written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The cast and crew put in over 200 hours since March to prepare for their opening night during the Gala.

A classic tale of Peter Pan with a twist, Peter and the Starcatcher follows Peter and Molly on their trip on the Neverland, played by David Meier and Tarah Leake. Both are graduating this spring, making this their last performance at R-MC.

The Gala performance was filled with excited chatter before the show started and great applause after its finish. The Kesler family themselves who donated to build the new and improved theater attended the first night of the performance. The director, Janet Hayatshahi, described the family’s “infectious” love for theater.

“I chose this play because I knew that we had the talent in the department to really bring the production to life,” said Hayatshahi. “Given that it is a play with music we are also able to tap into the musical talents of our theatre students while we collaborate with the music program.”

Jim Doering, the musical director at R-MC, worked with adjunct professor Kim Fox and student percussionist Holden Trimmer to provide live music during the performance. Doering said that it has been at least 10 years since their last live music performance, making these nights of performance extra special.

Along with the musical department, this inaugural production could not have been done without several more important groups of people working together. “We have 13 cast members, 3 musicians, a stage management and a design team, and it’s been a bit of a challenge to get everyone in the room at once. But, we have persevered and made it work,” said Hayatshahi.

Our students were also responsible for a lot of the set design as well, putting several hours into shop and making pieces of the set with the help of Gregg Hillmar. The show couldn’t have been as magnificent as it was without the efforts that everyone put into bringing this production to life.

“My productions tend to be highly collaborative in nature and often introduce a lot of physical theatre elements,” said Hayatshahi. “I am always relying on the talents of my students to help create the world of the show. I get so much from showing up to rehearsal, dropping a seed of an idea into the space, and watching the artists grow that seed into an amazing moment.”

It was the creativity of R-MC students, faculty, and staff that allowed for a magical night of Peter and the Starcatcher. The acting, the set design, the lighting and more all come together beautifully, showcasing the growing presence of theatre on our campus.



*Photos by Nick Ruxton