August 16th, 2018

MHHS drama shooting for the ‘Starcatcher’

By Chris Brown on May 19, 2017.

Cast members from the Medicine Hat High School production of "Peter and the Star Catchers" rehearse on Tuesday afternoon. The play May 26-28 and June 2-4 at the MHHS Karen Cunningham Performing Arts Centre.

You won’t hear the song “Imagine,” but you’ll need a fair bit of imagination if you’re going to get the full effect of Medicine Hat High School’s new show.

Just 26 performers will play 100 characters in “Peter and the Starcatcher” showing May 26-28 and June 2-4 at the MHHS Karen Cunningham Performing Arts Centre.

Director and teacher Richard Grafton says the show relies on a lot of imagination from the audience. For instance, he said this week, Act One takes place on two ships and a rope is central to the set design.

“It becomes all these different things,” Grafton said of the rope. “The waves of the ocean, railing of a ship, a boxing ring. The rope becomes everything and it’s interesting to see how actors manipulate the rope into things the audience will recognize as they tell the story.”

Grafton adds the play features a lot of communication with the audience during the narration of the play which helps the audience keep in mind that their own imagination is key.

“It looks like a group of actors getting together to put on a show,” Grafton describes. “The whole time the storytellers are speaking they know they’re actors, they know they’re in a a story that they’re presenting to the audience.”

The play is a sort of prequel to “Peter Pan,” hence the “Peter” in the title. The “Starcatcher” of the title is a member of a secret society that chases stars when they crash to Earth. These stars are filled with precious “starstuff” which has the power to make the person that possesses it whoever they want to be, so that starcatchers do their best to keep the “starstuff” from the wrong hands.

“If you’re good its not a problem but if you’re evil like Genghis Khan or Napoleon or someone like that it will give them more power and let them take over the world,” Grafton explains.

Through it all a little more light is shed on the backgrounds of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the Lost Boys.

Year-long modernizations at the school kept pushing the performance dates back, but also yielded some positives. Grafton says new sound equipment is allowing more use of ambient and surround sound, and the lobby area has been expanded for the audience. The modernizations haven’t changed the entrance to the theatre though. Enter through the northside parking lot on Fifth Street S.W. and everything should be marked from there, said Grafton.

Tickets, $15 plus service charge and GST, are available at or at the door. A family 5-pack is offered for $50 plus charges. The Friday and Saturday shows are at 7 p.m., the Sunday shows at 1 p.m.

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