Catching Stars: The Wonderful World of Haverford Drama’s Peter and the Starcatcher


Camille Stahl

Alex Lauff brings the pirate Smee to life in the spring show, Peter and the Starcatcher.

Alex Lauff, Contributor

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In September of this year, on the first or second week of school, I opened my inbox to an email from Sarah DeNight. We get virtually the same email every year, as anyone in the drama club knows; it’s a call to arms for newcomers to join our crazy little family, and a warm welcome back after a summer away for returning members. But this year with the pandemic was different. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that we were officially on for the upcoming year. The question was, what would that look like? Almost no one was doing physical shows, so how would we carry on? 

Through the ingenuity and dedication of people like Jeff Masino, our technical director, we were able to perform a virtual medley. The “Fall Show,” which premiered on December 12, consisted of scenes from wildly different plays and musicals strung together to form an hour and a half special. While it wasn’t the “real thing,” i.e. ten-hour tech rehearsals, delightfully crammed dressing rooms, and screaming audiences, it was wonderful to be able to perform again. 

Especially for me, since this was the first time I had ever had a named part in a Haverford Drama show. I was playing Smee in Act 1 Scene 5 of Peter and the Starcatcher affectionately referred to as PATS. The scene was short, but I loved every second of it. Having this opportunity to express my creativity was something I didn’t know I needed. Don’t get me wrong – the ensemble is wonderful and I’m not just saying that; getting to make acting choices with friends and building stories-within-the-story is a priceless bonding experience and has left me with lots of fond memories. I certainly would not have the skills I’ve needed in this role without those experiences. Contrary to popular belief, being in the ensemble of a show is still a huge commitment and responsibility, and everyone I know who participates in the drama club is talented. But there was something about being able to take this script by the reins and put my own spin on it that filled me with such joy. When the Fall Show premiered, my family and friends absolutely loved it, and so did I. Seeing myself with the same amount of screen time as such talents as Michael Selfrige and McKenna Loney gave me quite a bit of imposter syndrome.

I was thrilled when our director, Ms. DeNight, announced that the Spring Show would be PATS, and that it would be in person. While I knew I had a shot at reprising my role as Smee, a little part of me wondered if I would be able to replicate my performance in front of the directors. I have always had a problem with laughing on stage. At my childhood ballet recitals, the other kids would have stage fright, and I always started laughing or smiling uncontrollably. Not a bad problem to have, I suppose. Luckily for me, the auditions were online, so I was able to have as many tries as I wanted to perfect my monologue. When the callback list came out, I was shocked; I had gotten a callback for about five characters. Needless to say, I was excited, but I also worried that I would blow it. 

So…I blew it (kind of). I did really well towards the beginning, but when the calls that I felt I had a shot at, Black Stache and Smee, came up, I flubbed it a little bit. The next few days I was worried. I had done a good performance in the Fall Show and the other callbacks, so I was okay, right? Thankfully, I was correct. I cannot thank Ms. DeNight enough for the faith she has had in me and the opportunity she gave me by awarding me the part of Smee. Getting that part was one of the highlights of my year. I was so ready to showcase my goofiness and to become part of the cast of incredibly talented actors. Like a true Starcatcher. 

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