Open Forum

Peter and the Starcatcher--Offensive toward Indigenous Peoples?

  • 1.  Peter and the Starcatcher--Offensive toward Indigenous Peoples?

    Posted 23 days ago
    This post is cross-posted on a couple of Facebook groups, so my apologies in advance.
     
    Need some input on PETER AND THE STARCATCHER.
     
    I have a few very intelligent students who are taking some issue with the show and how it treats indigenous people. Looking for anyone especially who has dealt with this issue in this show.
     
    The first thing they take issue with is "We'll do all the work you don't want to, we're illegal immigrants that's what we're for."
     
    They also take issue with the fact that the show uses the word "savages."
     
    These students I am sure mean well, and I have my own thoughts on the show and the use of the characters, but I wanted to get your thoughts on it.

    Thanks!


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    Raymond Palasz
    Auditorium Director/Director of Theatre
    Munster High School
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  • 2.  RE: Peter and the Starcatcher--Offensive toward Indigenous Peoples?

    Posted 22 days ago
    We did this show a few years back. We did not face or view issues with indigenous people's treatment that you are. I view Peter and the Starcatcher as a stylized satire of British colonialism, sort of in the way Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzates is a satire of colonialism. We approached this show in the same way you have to approach the works of Oscar Wilde. It is an acting style and one could argue a period piece similar to doing Restoration comedies.

    I would have the students explore the purpose (thematically, historically, etc.) for the colonialism they are portraying. Then after some serious research, create lobby displays or video montages, putting it all into context. These videos you could put before each act as sort of pre-show and intermission announcements/warnings.

    If they do not go for that idea, you could try and approach Concord about changing some lines, but unsure if the turnaround will be quick enough for you.

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    Nicholas Osenberg
    Design and Technical Theatre
    Warren Consol. School of Performing Arts
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  • 3.  RE: Peter and the Starcatcher--Offensive toward Indigenous Peoples?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Thank you!

    There really isn't anything I can see worth changing that doesn't take away from the central message of the piece.  I really think that this group of students (1) doesn't understand satire and (2) has seen some YouTube videos of bad productions.  On the latter, I saw some that did some cringe-worthy costuming of the Mollusks that took itself too seriously and detracted from the message.

    From other avenues I have sought for input, it seems that my take on this being a satire is solid, and I simply have my work cut out for me on this!

    I am reaching out to our African American Culture Club to partner on the educational aspect.

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    Raymond Palasz
    Auditorium Director/Director of Theatre
    Munster High School
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