Friday, April 06, 2001

Not just wonderful thoughts

'Peter Pan' stars learn how to fly

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MONTGOMERY — When Julie Wacksman tried out for the lead role in Sycamore High School's upcoming production of Peter Pan, she did so with anticipation — and nervousness.

[photo] Laura Spencer, a Sycamore High School senior, receives help Wednesday from Mark Kostuch of Foy Inventerprises as she practices a flying scene for a production of Peter Pan.
(Mike Simons photo)
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        Playing the role of the boy who never grows up had been her dream ever since Julie, 17, had seen the play as a little girl. Adding to the excitement was the knowledge that Foy Inventerprises Inc. - the professional company that “flew” Mary Martin across the stage in the same play in 1954 - was going to oversee flying scenes for her school.

        Still, the nervousness remained - until this week when Foy set up its equipment and Julie took her first ride across the stage as Mark Kostuch, Foy's flying director, coached the crews in the proper handling of the ropes and harnesses.

"Just so cool'

        “Everybody's aware I have a fear of heights and I was nervous,” Julie, of Blue Ash, said after her first rides across the stage. “It's just so cool. What are the odds of ever getting an opportunity like this again?”

[photo] Strength and timing are crucial for junior Matt Young (left) and sophomore Aaron Morris, working the ropes to help their classmates soar above the stage.
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        Mr. Kostuch said he enjoys working with teens because they are eager to learn and not as temperamental as professionals.

        “They don't think they know everything,” Mr. Kostuch said. “Once they know what they're responsible for and are in control, they just have to remember not to push themselves, and be safe.”

        The hardest part in working the ropes that make Peter Pan fly is the timing, said junior Matt Young, who with sophomore Aaron Morris had to learn when to pull the rope and when to let go.

"A lot of safeguards'

    Peter Pan will be the inaugural play for Sycamore High School's new, 630-seat theater.
    The theater will open with a Gala Fund Raising Celebration set for 6 p.m. May 4. Tickets are $25 for that performance only.
    The musical opens its two-week run with 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. shows May 5. Other dates and times are: May 10-11, 7:30 p.m.; May 12, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Call 489-0405 for ticket information.
        “You don't want her crashing into the stage,” Matt said. “Picking up 70 percent of someone's body weight is harder than I thought.”

        “It's about the muscle,” Aaron added. “I thought it would be easier. Everything is done as an exact science. Every (move) is planned. There are a lot of safeguards and people in place in case you drop a rope.”

        Drama teacher Leslie Knotts said just to be safe there is at least one adult behind every student operator on the fly scenes.

        The opportunity to work with professionals like those at Foy is particularly important for the teens' technical theater education, Ms. Knotts said.

        “They're getting instruction by another professional. It's important for them to see and talk to and learn from someone who does it for a living,” Ms. Knotts said. “It's also a little less worry on our part using their system instead of doing it ourselves.”


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