For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday
After their father dies, five siblings find themselves around the kitchen table of their childhood, pouring whiskey and sharing memories. The eldest, Ann, reminisces about her days playing Peter Pan at the local children’s theater, and soon the five are transported back to Neverland. For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday is a fantastical exploration of the enduring bonds of family, the resistance to “growing up,” and the inevitability of growing old.
“It’s hard to imagine another play that deals so beautifully and delicately with growing up, growing old, dying, God, where does your consciousness go when you die, should we be terrified, gender inequity, childhood, parental approval or the lack thereof, religious belief, loss of religious belief, yearning for ritual even after the loss of belief, how fiction can seem more resonant and meaningful to us than fact. I was transported…but strangely felt as if I was transported deeply into my own consciousness. I only wish my mother was still alive and could have seen it!” —Cynthia Nixon
“I don’t know any playwright who trusts her audience as much as Sarah Ruhl does, and for me, the rewards of that trust are enormous. The off-kilter structure and the drifting and the deliberately meandering feel of the writing led to a kind of transcendent emotional power—you’re thrown off balance by the style of storytelling, and then hit with a solid punch. Absolutely virtuoso playwriting. ” —Jason Robert Brown
“Having For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday to transport me back to my childhood now that ‘no one is standing sentry between (me) and death’ is a gift for which I lack adequate words to thank the playwright who wrote it for me. ” —Kathleen Kehoe Ruhl (the playwright’s mother)
“Sarah Ruhl imbues the fantastical with such a singular logic that is only hers, but becomes yours…She gives a map to a kind of preternatural joy; only when the curtain comes down do you remember that we cannot fly, time travel, or conjure our departed loved ones. I wept at the end of this play, not only from its glorious and impossibly inventive resolution, but from having to depart another hilarious and divinely perverse world that Sarah created with her elegance and bottomless humanity. ” —Mary Louise Parker