Senior Ali Huffstetler plays the role of Wendy Darling in the Promethean Players’ production “Lost Girl.” Photos by Communications Content Creator Tashroom Ahsan ’20.When I arrived at the NCSSM Auditorium to speak with Adam Sampieri, the director of the fall theatre production, “Lost Girl,” I was dazzled by twinkling stars behind me on the backdrop and impressed by the hectic set-building process. We all know the classic Peter Pan story, but what happens to Wendy Darling after she returns home from Neverland? “Lost Girl,” written by Kimberly Belflower, explores this idea in a contemporary way. With its first professional performance having been only last year, the newness of the show allows for an interesting perspective on a classic story. And especially for high schoolers, the show is relatable and important. “It doesn’t look anything like the Disney ‘Peter Pan’ movie,” Sampieri said. “Everyone’s in contemporary dress — [Kimberly Belflower] is very clear that it’s not necessarily of a specific time.” “Lost Girl” follows the story of Wendy Darling after she returns to her regular life, having left Peter Pan in Neverland. When we see Wendy, she’s no longer a child but a young adult, undergoing what we all know to be some of the most excruciating aspects of growing up — first love, first loss, family issues, and finding herself amidst a stressful situation. Sampieri pointed out that unlike ‘Peter Pan,’ the story doesn’t take place in early twentieth-century London: “I think [Belflower] wants for us to think not about this ‘fairytale story,’ but about this real story of being a young person, falling in and out of love, and trying to understand what that means.” Pausing for a moment to voice approval of the scene lighting, he continued, “It’s a very challenging show. It’s probably deceptively simple-looking. The vocal work that the students have to do — this Greek chorus, a chorus of six or seven actors tell the story one line at a time — makes it so they have to know their cues. The movement is really important. The playwright’s very clear about how it should clip along, and there shouldn’t be big scene changes. There are very small, fast changes in order to get from one place to another.” The Promethean Players are a tight-knit student group who work tirelessly, despite their rigorous courses and other extracurriculars, to put on an excellent production each academic trimester. Senior Ali Huffstetler has been involved with the NCSSM theatre department since the beginning of her junior year, but she’s really been a theatre person since she was six. “I definitely need [theatre] to be a part of my life,” she said. “It’s a different feeling. When you’re on stage, it’s like no one else is there. Theatre has always been like a sanctuary — I started when I was 6 when my parents divorced, and I grew up with it.” Ali is taking on the challenging lead role of Wendy, and one of her favorite parts about her role is the way she’s able to relate Wendy’s experience to her own. “I’ve gone through a lot of the things Wendy’s gone through in my life — issues with family, just a lot,” she said. “It’s kind of funny because whenever I say one of her lines, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve definitely felt that before.’” The show is a single act lasting some 70 minutes. One of the most impressive parts about Ali’s role is that Wendy doesn’t leave the stage for the entirety of the show. As the scenes quickly change, Ali must also, without getting any time to go backstage and regroup. She noted that, although the performance is draining, it’s been a really important part of getting to know her character. She said, “I get a feeling to know what it’s like to be Wendy because Wendy doesn’t get to leave her situation, and I don’t either.” In fact, playing Wendy gives Ali a little time off from starring in life at NCSSM as herself. “I think a lot of us push our passions aside when we come to Science and Math, but I’ve found that there’s a healthy balance, and you need to figure out what’s important to you,” she said. “I can’t be successful if I’m not happy, and if I’m not doing theatre, I’m not happy.” –Jane Wilson is an NCSSM student in the class of 2020 who serves in the position of Communications Content Creator. She focuses on writing stories about life at NCSSM from the student perspective. The NCSSM Promethean Players present their fall production, “Lost Girl,” this weekend. The show will be held in the ETC Auditorium and will be performed at 7 pm Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19 and at 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 20. Admission is free, and advance reservations are not required. Find out more here.