Drama Students Learning To Fly For ‘Peter Pan’

Matt LaFon, as Peter Pan, positions his legs according to instructions given by ZFX Flight director, Roger Benevedies, to prevent unnecessary turning while in flight.

Matt LaFon, as Peter Pan, positions his legs according to instructions given by ZFX Flight director, Roger Benevedies, to prevent unnecessary turning while in flight. Photo by Andy Towle. |

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Payson High School students will take flight this week in a production of “Peter Pan.”

The five-act show features flying, magical Nevercreatures and a few other surprises as the theater troupe takes on a newer version of the classic production.

“We chose this version because we thought it was an excellent acting version,” said theater director Kathy Siler. “It was challenging and not the typical “Peter Pan.”

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The cast and crew of “Peter Pan” assemble on stage during the first annual presentation of awards for Fine Arts and Payson High School. This year the High School Band, under the direction of Daria Mason, took home four honors for their extreme dedication, creative activities and showmanship.

Directors John Caird and Trevor Nunn combed through all of original playwright J. M. Barries’ writings and incorporated them in an updated version that opened in London in 2003.

In the PHS play, audiences will enjoy creatures like a neverbird, neverfish and neverwolves. Siler said the kids will don some “amazing creature costumes.”

“We’ve been wanting to do something mythical for a long time,” said Siler. She and Technical Director Thomas Walling poured through scripts of various versions but nothing captured the imagination until they read through the version that will open on Wednesday, Nov. 3.

“It’s very fun and very challenging,” said Siler. First, they had to surmount obstacles involved with flying. “We knew we wanted to fly, but we had to find out if the district would allow us.”

The district’s two superintendents, Casey O’Brien and Bobette Tomerlin, worked with the theater group to make sure insurance would cover the flying.

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One highlight during the awards presentation was picking a student’s and a teacher’s name from a bucket to be rigged up and take a flight in the ZFX flying harness and equipment. Sean Ford got the honor as a student.

Also, local donors helped make the $5,000 effect possible.

Siler said kids have engaged in a little flying previously, but never with six students for a sustained period of time.

“This play belongs to the community,” said Siler. Ticket prices have not been increased to reflect the expenses of producing the show.

Siler said the theater group wanted to make sure everybody could afford to come see the show. “This is something Payson has never seen before,” said Siler.

Performances begin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, Thursday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 6 in the high school auditorium. On Friday, Nov. 5, a matinee will begin at 4 p.m.

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ZFX Flight director, Roger Benevedies (right). demonstrates the correct positioning of the hands to attach the fight guideline to a flier as, flight operators Erich Romberger, Brent Scott and Steven "Quat" Vandemeer watch closely.

Those attending should park in the Longhorn parking lot since construction has closed off much of the other parking lot.

Tickets cost $6 for adults, $5 for senior citizens and $4 students for students in first- through 12th-grade.

Save $1 by purchasing tickets at Mojoe’s Café and East West Exchange.

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