Who doesn’t want to grow up at some point? Whether you are a child at heart or have a children of your own, Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts is presenting Peter Pan. Fly with Peter to Neverland and join the adventures with the Lost Boys in this classic tale. For this Feature Q & A, Captain Hook discusses his hatred of Peter Pan, and his puppeteer Luis Hernadez gives insight into the process of bringing the puppet to life.
Is Captain Hook really a bad guy? Are you just misunderstood?
A “Bad guy”? What sort of childish question is this? I am very much misunderstood. Unfortunately, no one in all of Neverland can match my intellect and my obsession with the rules of proper gentlemanly behavior, thus making my life insufferable. If I am indeed the smartest man in Neverland, shouldn’t everyone have to do my bidding and cater to my every need? They will all be sorry the day I become the MASTER of Neverland. Bwahahah!
What do you think about Peter Pan? Is he a worthy adversary?
Peter Pan is a spoiled brat with no sense of decency who spends all day playing silly games with his Lost Boys. I do envy his ability to fly off in the heat of battle. There’s some sort of rule about fairy dust working only if you have a “child-like innocence.” Ugh! If I could fly I would most certainly have the upper hand as I am more skilled in the proper rules of swordplay.
How annoying are the lost boys?
Hmm… how can I put this… a full hour of Smee’s singing would be less annoying than the mere sight of those Lost Boys. They cause all sorts of disorder in Neverland, playing pranks on me and my band of pirates. I wish their mothers would show up and teach them a lesson.
What has been your most successful plan to thwart Peter and the lost boys?
Well, none of my plans have been very successful to date. But I did come close one time when we were able to kidnap all of the Lost Boys and used them to lure Peter into a dark and boggy marsh. It would have been a complete surprise attack that should’ve gone perfectly. But how was I to know there would be a humongous crocodile lurking there? Unfortunately, we lost track of the boys, Peter, and my right hand; that blasted crocodile ate my hand! But the best thing to come out of it all was my greatest invention: a menacing hook to replace my right hand, quite an improvement I must add.
Why should we fear the crocodile?
What?! What’s not to fear?! Huge bulging eyes, hundreds of gleaming sharp teeth, and that snapping mouth! Eeeek! And that tick, tick, ticking sound from the watch I wore on my right hand! It’s enough to make any gentleman lose his composure.
What three adjectives describe Captain Hook the best?
Refined, menacing, astute.
Luis Hernandez – Puppeteer
What kind of puppet is used to portray Captain Hook?
He’s a rod puppet with a trigger control for the mouth and rods on his hand and hook to control the arms.
What challenges do you face in presenting the puppet?
This is my first time using this type of puppet, but thankfully our rehearsal schedule allows time to work with the puppet to discover all of the gestures and moves I could do with it. Because he has a hook for a hand, there is a specific way to move his right arm to make sure the control rod doesn’t get caught in the hook. It is also probably the heaviest puppet in the show, so I had to build up my shoulder and arm muscles to make sure I could hold him up for long periods of time and keep him going.
Why should families come see the show?
It’s a story that appeals to kids of all ages from 2 to 99 years old. It teaches us a good lesson about growing up and learning how to be responsible and purposeful, but without losing that child-like sense of wonder and joy of life. It also has very funny moments with bumbling pirates, goofy Lost Boys, and a mischievous shadow trying to escape. Additionally, the show incorporates new uses of technology in puppet theatre and some really cool animation effects. This is a very unique recreation of the classic Peter Pan story.
For tickets and more information on Peter Pan at the Center for Puppetry Arts, please visit www.puppet.org. Peter Pan plays through May 27.