Betwixt and Between
the True Origin of Peter Pan
Book and Lyrics by Kenneth Wayne Wood
Adapted from Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie.
This script tells an incredibly charming story. Everyone knows the tale of Peter Pan -- the boy who can fly, who never wants to grow up, and who has a fairy best friend named Tinker Bell.
However, this script is based on J.M. Barrie’s lesser-known prequel for Peter Pan, telling his origin story -- and it dives into a creative, mythical place to explain the beginnings of the beloved character. Peter’s parents want a child and they send a letter, as most other parents hoping for children do, to Bird Island -- and this cleverly ties into the childhood myth about how storks carry babies to families.
Peter originally comes from the nest of a white bird and as a baby, still believes he is a bird. His instincts are bird-like and the night when his father discusses Peter’s potential future with his mother, it immediately amounts to his clear distaste for even the thought of growing up.
The narrative itself is lighthearted and whimsical, bringing Peter into a world of birds and fairies who become his companions and who he turns to for help in reuniting with his family.
There’s a lot of heart and poignancy to this particular story: it’s about a boy who’s stuck between two worlds indeed -- the magical one and the human one -- and also torn between finding his mother and experiencing freedom.
“This script definitely has the potential for a colorful and imaginative adaptation on the big screen or stage. It’s clear that audiences love the story of Peter Pan, with its multiple film and stage variations, ranging from the Disney animated film to HOOK to the Academy-Award-nominated FINDING NEVERLAND about Barrie’s life.
This story is one that hasn’t been told as often; it contains the origin story for Peter Pan in a multi-faceted way, diving into the roots of his ability to fly, his penchant for adventure, and even his friendship with Tinker Bell.
It is endearing and fantastical, while at the same time, providing clear reasons and a linear narrative for this boy who never wants to grow up. There are moments that are bittersweet that explain just why Peter is such a solitary boy -- and the fact that he has to face disappointment at a young age is heartbreaking.
However, it gives so much depth to his character that it makes him, as a young boy, a worthy hero to root for. This script would work well as a Broadway-style play or as a live-action feature, in the hands of Disney, in the vein of their most recent dazzling live-action features, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CINDERELLA, and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.”
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is in the public domain.