Sunday, April 17, 2011

Captain GEORGE Hook?

Mr. George Darling & Captain Jas. Hook
There’s often a tendency to think that these two are symbolically related. That some aspect of Hook lies in Darling or vice-versa. As in Wendy, John & Michael are trying to escape the ‘tyranny’ (to whatever degree) of their father’s insistence that their want of play time is nonsense. (Which is also sort of a speculative view.)

This belief arises from the fact that in most productions, Darling & Hook are played by the same man. Does this mean, then, that Hook represents the dark side of their father? Actually, no.

The reason that Darling and Hook are portrayed by a single actor is simply double-casting. It gave the actor, who would otherwise have had a small part, more to do. Granted, the same can be said of the actress who takes on Mrs. Darling - after the children leave she isn’t seen again (in the play) until the end. Consider, though, that at one point Mrs. Darling had been the one double-cast!

Just as Peter Pan being played a by a girl/woman is no way supposed to be commentary on his nature or attributes, there’s nothing in Darling/Hook that’s really meant to be “read into” concerning the aspects of a scary authority figure or some projected extension of the Darling kids' imaginations. It’s just a matter of convenience.

Sure, there’s bound to be some imprint of their father’s influence that helped make the Neverland seem enticing. But certainly not to the degree that many would have us believe.

Yet another misconception of the story of Peter Pan.

1 comment:

Anon said...

I once saw a youtube video of a school production of Peter Pan that had a GIRL playing Captain Hook, and that gave me a whole new outlook on (and appreciation for) the character, and it helped me to understand why Barrie originally wanted him to be played by the same actress who played Mrs. Darling.

Lines like "If I were a mother" took on completely new meaning, as well as the rich, damp cake and the poisoned medicine....