Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Won't Grow Up

Park Forest Middle School presents Peter Pan this weekend, Th, Fri. Sat. 7:30PM. The musical is based on a book of the same title by J.M. Barrie. Jerome Robbins wrote the score. Peter Pan is a magical boy who successfully refuses to grow up. The play tells the story of his encounter with the perfectly ordinary Darling family children, and their escapades in magical Neverland where pirates and Indians emperil lost boys.

My interest in this particular production is more than just as a critic. I happen to know one of the cast members. In life, I play the role of her hideously embarrasing mother.

The show features a song I can't get out of my head:

I Won't Grow Up

The middle school players, ironically, are desparate to be seen as grown up, without the burden of actually being grown up.

I won't grow up
I don't want to go to school.
Just to learn to be a parrot
And recite a silly rule.

Peter Pan's philosophy is powerful. Law students, facing graduation, the July bar exam, high pressure jobs, marriage, debt-- They want to grow up for real, but are understandably terrified.

I don't want to wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July.
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me.

As for me, I'm staring down growing old. Peter Pan and I agree on this:

If growing up means
It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me!

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