Broken-hearted about the loss of his “Shadow,” a down-and-out Peter Pan is kidnapped, setting off a chain of events in which Peter and his “Shadow” learn about the meaning of compassion and solidarity.
Novelist, poet, playwright, performer, and screenwriter, John Biscello, is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables paired with the vintage illustrations by artist Paul Bransom for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ. He is the founder and director of the Taos Youth Ensemble, a theater collective, and as an independent drama educator, he has worked in various schools, creating plays with grades ranging from K through high school.
Excerpt from the play:
PETER PAN – The boy, the myth, the legend
SHADOW – Peter’s shadow
NIBBLES – Lost Boy/Girl
CURLY – Lost Boy/Girl
EVELINA – Mermaid
JUGGLER – Court juggler
MORGESTERNA – Freeze Queen
SILHOUETTA – Morgesterna’s advisor
MOMO – Moop
BOBO – Moop
ECHO 1 – Woodland creature
ECHO 2 – Woodland creature
CLOAK – Detective
(*Casting is flexible. Genders can easily be changed.)
SETTING: Neverland….and beyond.
The Shadow of Peter Pan
By John Biscello
(SHADOW enters. Addresses audience.)
You know how they say it’s hard to always be in someone else’s shadow? Forget that noise! I’ll tell you what’s really hard: having to be someone else’s shadow. In my case that someone is Peter-
I won’t grow up! I won’t grow up!
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of willful children?
(regular voice, pointing to herself)
The Shadow knows, that’s who.
Sorry if I’m sounding a tad bitter but I’ve been trying to strike out on my own for a while now, and Peter always catches me and stitches us back together. Can anyone say: co-dependent? Well, anyway, this is the story about how I did lead my own life for a short time—and learned a few things—while Peter, the eternal child, grew up—
(pinches her thumb and pointer together)
just a little bit.
(PETER PAN on the ground, asleep. Awakens. Stands up. Stretches and yawns. Looks at the ground. Nervously looks around.)
(NIBBLES and CURLY, two of the Lost Boys enter.)
Hey, Sleepy Pete’s finally awake.
Nibbles, Curly—have you seen my shadow?
Darnit! This is the third time this month. What’s wrong with her?
(NIBBLES and CURLY laugh. PETER doesn’t.)
Come on you two, help me find her.
Here shadow-shadow-shadow. Here, girl!
Come on, Shadow, we’re not good at dealing with lost causes.
(PETER, CURLY, NIBBLES exit.)
But I was long gone, enjoying the life of a liberated shadow. As for poor shadow-less Peter…
(PETER, seated, depressed, chin propped on his fist. EVELINA the mermaid is brushing her hair and checking herself out in a hand mirror.)
Peter, you’ve got to stop moping. It’s not very becoming.
It’s been two weeks Evelina, and not a trace of my shadow.
What’s so great about a shadow anyway?
What’s so great? I’ll tell you what’s so great. All my star-stuff and moonglow and charm-a-lade are wrapped up in my shadow. Without those things, I’m, I’m—
Shut up and brush your hair.
Hummppf! What you should do is come away with me to the bottom of the sea.
(batting her eyelashes)
Don’t you think I’m beautiful? Positively divine?
(PETER ignores EVELINA, gets up, and walks around.)
Where could my shadow have gone?
You’re pathetic, Peter Pan. Just remember—there might be more fish in the sea, but there’s only one mermaid like me.
(EVELINA swims off.)
(NIBBLES and CURLY enter.)
Trouble at sea, Pete?
Choppy waves, Nibbles, choppy waves.
I know what’ll lift your spirits. Let’s go and steal some pirate booty.
I don’t feel like it.
Wanna bounce around on the clouds?
Not today. You two go and have fun.
Um, okay, Peter … see you later.
(Nibbles, Curly, and Peter exit.)