Training Theatre Artists to Make a Difference
Read about M.F.A. Acting Candidate, Kevin Boudreau, and his upcoming solo show, “Neverlanding” by Amanda Zeitler.
My solo-show is called Neverlanding. It’s an adaptation of Sir J.M. Barrie’s timeless classic Peter Pan. The show was written by my good friend, and CUA Alumni, Amanda Zeitler. The story is set twenty years after the events of Peter Pan have taken place, and it is told from the perspective of Michael, the youngest of the three Darling children. A lot has happened to Michael since his adventures in Neverland. While sitting in a bar after the train he conducts has broken down, we discover just what kind of man Michael has grown up to be. He has fought in WWII, dealt with his overbearing older brother forcing his sister into a sanitarium, and struggled with his own beliefs about whether or not a boy named Peter Pan and a place called Neverland ever truly existed. Through a series of flashbacks, Michael realizes that he has to make a decision, perhaps the toughest decision of his life. Does he choose to believe that his adventures in Neverland were nothing but childhood fantasies created by himself and his siblings? Or does he take a leap of faith into a world where children can fly, fairies do exist, and anything is possible as long as you truly believe?
I chose this show because the story of Peter Pan has always been very near and dear to my heart. Growing up, I read both the play and novel versions countless times, watched all the film adaptations, and Peter Pan was even the very first professional musical I got to see when it came to the Wang Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts. Simply put, I’ve loved Peter Pan for as long as I can remember. This made performing an adaptation of the story for my solo-show an easy decision. What wasn’t easy was coming up with a great concept from which to base this adaptation. That’s where my amazing playwright, Amanda Zeitler, came in. After sitting down together and discussing our individual thoughts about Peter Pan and what we hoped to achieve by creating a new story using Sir J.M. Barrie’s characters, Amanda was able to craft a script and a concept that absolutely blew my mind.
I think that the biggest challenge of doing a solo-show is crafting each character so that they are unique within the world of the play. It’s been very difficult and very rewarding discovering different ways to separate each of the characters in my show as they interact with one another on stage. I’ve found that by using different vocal and physical mannerisms I’ve been able to craft each character I play into their own unique being so that they are easily discernible when interacting with other another during the course of the play.
Working with my director, Jenny McConnell Frederick, has been an absolute blast. Obviously having a constant one-on-one type of atmosphere has definitely been a different experience in the rehearsal room for me to say the least. But Jenny made the rehearsal process so fun and open and freeing that it became easy for me to allow myself to explore and make new discoveries with the characters of the play. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better director to share in the rehearsal process with.