Pan Doesn't Do That!
In the stage version of Peter Pan, the lead character is
usually portrayed by a female actress.
The original Peter was Maude Adams, a dear friend of the writer,
James Barrie. Another
a small part in the original production, then understudied the lead role,
which had been taken over by Cissie Loftus, when the successful show went touring.
During the last week of the tour, Pauline took over
the title role. She was being
given a golden opportunity. James Barrie and the show’s producer, Charles Frohman,
came to watch her perform, telling her that if they thought she was good
enough she would be Peter Pan in their next major production.
If she had the job, they would send a piece of paper marked with a
cross to her dressing room at the end of the show.
The required paper with a cross, was given to her at the end of the
first act – she was considered perfect for the part.
Pauline was to play
Peter Pan for the next 8 years, doing approximately 1400 performances of
the boy who would never grow up. She
recognised her responsibility to all children and understood the need to
stay in character when she was in costume.
Peter Pan is of course a male character and Pauline knew that part
of her responsibility was to continue appearing as a male when her young
fans visited her after the show.
She recounted a
charming memory of one of her many meetings with Peter Pan’s adoring
young friends. A lad who was
only about five or six years old visited Pauline’s dressing room.
He was upset by the tales told him by older and more sceptical
children – they said that Peter Pan was actually a girl!
The little boy was
determined to prove them wrong. He
knew that Peter Pan was a boy and he could prove it!
He demanded that Pauline’s Peter whistle right now, ‘cause
surely only boys could whistle … Pauline whistled!
truth-seeker brought out the one question he knew would prove for certain
that the actress was really a male. He
looked her straight in the eye and said, “What do you think of
Pauline pulled an ugly face and said, “Rotten”.
The little boy was
immensely relieved. He had
just proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that Peter Pan was most
definitely a little boy, just like himself.
Peter Pan - Movie Teaser
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