Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Sydney Lyric Theatre
Abbie spoke with Teagan Wouters ahead of her opening in Sydney for Peter Pan Goes Wrong. If you loved The Play That Goes Wrong, you are going to LOVE this!! We can't wait to see the show next week - have a read below and click down the bottom for tickets in Sydney and on their tour!
Our readers may be more familiar with another work by the company – The Play that Goes Wrong. What are the main differences and what can audiences who loved the first show look forward to in this one?
Well if you loved The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society members from The Play That Goes Wrong, then you’ll love this one. All the characters are back, with a couple of newbies thrown in for fun. One of the main differences between the shows is that Peter Pan is obviously a well known fairy tale, so the audience is able to follow along with the plot whilst everything ‘goes wrong’. The scale of this production is also bigger. The entire set revolves and Peter Pan actually gets to fly! Like The Play That Goes Wrong, the same slapstick humour is there, but PPGW leads you to fall in love with the characters and has a whole lot of heart.
Tell us about your character and the role you play in the show. Who are they and what have you learnt from playing them?
Our show is a play within a play. My Cornley Polytechnic character is Lucy, (who is the niece of the much loved co - director of the play, Robert Grove). In ‘Peter Pan’, Lucy plays Tootles, one of the lost boys. This is her first time with Cornley Polytechnic and because she suffers from severe stage fright, her uncle thought it was a good idea to put her into the show to help her conquer her nerves! She is the real underdog of the play, and we see her struggle both physically and emotionally to make it to the end. I’ve learnt a lot from Lucy - mostly how to hop around on one leg (you’ll have to see it to know what I’m talking about), but she has an inner determination and is a good reminder that when you fall, to get back up again and try again.
For this unique production, there's a vast amount of split-second timing and hair-raising stunt work. What was the rehearsal process like to build trust and confidence with such intense slapstick?
We were so lucky with this production because from day one of rehearsals we were in a theatre, on a stage, with a full working set and flying rig. Normally you would spend a few weeks rehearsing in a rehearsal room then head into the theatre to tech on the set. But because so much of what ‘goes wrong’ in the show happens behind the scenes with the set falling apart etc (operated by our incredible crew), it was important to be able to work on the set straight away. By the end of the first week we had blocked the entire show from start to finish, which meant we had the next few weeks to really work on the precision of the stunts and tricks to make sure everyone was comfortable and safe. It was a really fun process, with a lot of laughs and quite a few bruises! Then once we added an audience on top of that, it changed the timing again, so you just ride each wave as it comes but trust that the cues from all departments are locked in and clear in order for everyone to stay safe!
Technically speaking, the show has to 'go wrong' to go right. What happens if things actually go wrong?
We have been pretty lucky so far (touch wood) that nothing too dramatic has gone wrong when it shouldn’t. But working in live theatre there is always a risk that something will. So if that’s the case we just do what we can to keep the show going. Working with this group of actors in particular has been great because improvisation is second nature to them. When little things happen that shouldn’t, everyone is able to keep the play going to the best of their ability. We have contingency plans in place that both the cast and crew are across if anything major went wrong, but it’s usually just little things that we can work through without having to stop the show.
Without spoiling anything, what's your favourite part of the show?
There are SO MANY parts I love, but my favourite is usually the moments in the show when a character is allowed to interact with the audience. This show is a little different in the sense that there is no forth wall, so we are allowed to notice an audiences reaction. Watching an actor in their element and improvising with whatever they are given from the crowd is so much fun and it often gets the biggest reaction of the night. I also love sitting in my dressing room listening to the nursery scene at the start of the play. It sets up the show beautifully and I get to hear a constant stream of laughter from the audience coming through the tannoy.
Any memorable audience reactions?
There have been so many, but kids yelling out inappropriate things is always a goodie and audience members with spot on timing throwing in a perfectly appropriate comment at just the right moment always creates a sense of satisfaction for us. Always fun when they boo Peter Pan at the end too.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
Favourite production you have ever seen?
The Mountain Top (Broadway)
You’re getting on a plane tomorrow and you can go anywhere in the world, where do you go?
Dream show/role to perform?
Come From Away, The Last Five Years
Plays or musicals?
What’s next for you after this show?
Hopefully a little holiday!
Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs from February 13th to 20th at the Sydney Lyric Theatre. You can get your tickets here.