I met with Kathleen Murphey, the writer of P PAN AND BEYOND to talk last week about the background, history, and literature that inspires Kathleen’s research papers. For many of us fairy tales have deeper meanings, but following the transformation further tells us about how people cushion threatening words. Reversing these enchantments in a fairy tale places folklore in the humanities as an important part to the overall story.
Kathleen Murphy is a full time faculty at Community College of Philadelphia, and an alumnus of University of Pennsylvania. Her research papers have gone to conferences to speak about woman in history and has led her to her new play about our cultures disengagement with exploring sexuality. Stories that explore folklore are useful for directing the young people’s trust into a more inclusive place. Dragons and trolls were an example of a power that avenged against a villain. Kathleen brings up issues, like how some make contributions to a community or a disastrous spell takes over our free will. P PAN brings the children to a place where they can express a willingness that they never felt before. A willingness to explore their own ideas, transverse what they have been told and discern for themselves how things actually are in the world.
I asked Kathleen where is this place, “Beyondland,” and the answer I got traced back to Finding Never Land, which was performed at the Academy of Music last November. The directions to get to Beyondland stand between this Neverland and a place called Everland. Everland references J.M. Barries stories of Peter Pan, and hints at a troubled world where the parents of these children have all abandoned them due to mass extinction. The adventure to Beyondland shows an individual’s challenge at developmental stages of puberty. In the play, Kathleen says, through the interaction of Krystal and Kyle meeting other children. All kinds of distraught youth under pressure find their way to Beyondland. Uncovering the same kind of issues in our world today.
The Four Freedoms picked up the conversation we had last week to involve many other unpleasantries in our world: incarceration of african americans, and the rate of homosexuals which are homeless. My interest in the playwright was the common interest in the children’s stories that are not for children. For instance, the Grimm’s fairy tales and Perrault’s fairy tales were stories of men saving women, and proof that “she” is unable to save herself. The wandering or calling attention to sexuality in The Little Red Riding Hood is just one example of stories that underestimates our free will. In Beyondland, the social atmosphere changes how children appear to have control of their future.
I wondered about the discomfort a coercive environment and what it entails for these characters. Tackling issues at different points of contact with external influences reminds us that emotional connections create new form for social relationships. P Pan takes us along with them to a place, a reality where ideally, basic daily life lifted up from the bottom up serves all people . These magical creatures and forces outside of our knowledge create a place that we disclosed as unreal, but in fairy tales are foundations for sustaining happiness.
[German Society of Pennsylvania, 611 Spring Garden Street] September 15-16, 2018; fringearts.com/event/p-pan-beyondland