Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Smee

With a cast featuring just two seniors, the Booneville High School Drama Department is entering crunch time in preparation for its production of Peter Pan, as public performances for the play are set for March 8-10.

Farrah Stringer is cast in the lead of Peter Pan and the role of Tinker Bell is being filled by freshman Taylor Danekas.

Stringer presents somewhat of a challenge, though hardly in talent. Accustomed to major roles, Stringer is just so involved in high school life. She is a cheerleader and basketball is still ongoing and she plays softball.

“It’s a small school. It’s so difficult. Everybody has to share,” said director Doug Sanders.

The two seniors in the cast both got involved with the drama department just a year ago in Wonka, Jr.

Cast in December, Michael McLean is taking on the role of Captain Hook. Last year he was dually cast as Michael Teavee and Charlie’s father in Wonka, Jr.

“I thought it would be fun to be a villain,” McLean said of taking on the bad guy role.

The other senior is Farris Danes, who like McLean hit the stage for the first time in 2023, doing so as Grandpa Jo.

This year Danes is Smee, who is Captain Hook’s right hand man, and is also playing Mr. Darling, who is the father of Wendy Darling, who is being played by Jesseca Lewis.

Actually Stringer, who is a junior but is in her fourth production, had eyes for the part of Wendy but director Doug Sanders nudged her toward the title role.

“I wanted to be Wendy but Mr. Sanders thought I had the voice of a little boy and I could play the role of a little boy,” Stringer explains.

She also has a history with playing male roles, having been young Simba in the Lion King as well as Charlie Buckets. Her first role was actually as young Elsa though she did fill in as Rifiki in one performance of the Lion King, Jr.

Exactly how Tinker Bell becomes elevated is still being addressed but rather than the original orb of light speaking with Peter in a language Peter understands, Sanders wanted a Tinker Bell character.

“We were going to try to do a green screen. We watched a bunch of stuff (for ideas),” said Sanders. “Obviously we can’t string up lines in the auditorium but we’ve got an idea of how to show a gliding movement.”

With so few upperclassmen, at least compared to previous plays, the production features multiple junior high students like Danekas, Malena Loftin, Braylee Carolan, and Emily Gray.

“I’ve got a bunch of young, young kids. One of the girls is (eighth grader) Chloe Walker. She’s one of the (lost boys) twins,” said Sanders.

Besides the age variation the cast is also quite diverse in interests. While the show choir is involved that branches out into multiple sports, including football, basketball and softball, into band, into cheer, and further.

“It’s always been my goal to involve as many different people as possible,” Sanders said. “Some years it just doesn’t work out but this year it’s going so good and one of the reasons it’s going so good is I’ve got great parents.”

The public performances are set for 7 p.m. on Friday, March 8 – there are two private performances for elementary and junior high/high school students earlier Friday; 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 9; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students, and under 6 free.