174: Never For Ever

16 Oct

Daniel Evan’s Never For Ever is a coming-of-age tale with many twists. It’s a funny, crude, sweet and poignant story about Peter and Wendy in a supermarket.

Peter Pan rescues Wendy

Peter Pan rescuing Wendy. Illustration by Mabel Lucie Atwell.

Never For Ever was commissioned by Griffith University’s Applied Theatre Department for their student production I Will Kiss You in Four Places. Four Brisbane writers were each given the challenge of writing a 20-minute play with at least six characters and only a month to submit the first draft. Clearly this was enough time for Evans to create a rich and fantastical world peopled with the bizarre, the bruised and some seriously OTT characters.

It’s the middle of the night in some suburban supermarket and the night team are restocking the shelves, knowing that when they turn 21 they’ll get the yellow slip out of there. Their days are numbered and for those, like Peter, who don’t want to get older it’s a clock that ticks as loudly as the one the crocodile swallowed.

Peter is a lost boy on the cusp of turning 21. He’s suffering amnesia and can only remember when Wendy tells him the story of the things they’ve experienced together since he fell to earth (into the freezer). They work with a strange bunch of people, including Charmaine who continuously mouths off in graphic detail about her sordid sex life.

WENDY: Harriet’s right. You tell us everything, Charmaine.
AUGUSTUS: No detail is spared.
HARRIET: It’s like you forgot to switch on your privacy settings.
CHARMAINE: Yeah. Well. I’ll tell you one other thing: You can all go get stuffed. I put the extra– in extraordinary, which means I finish five letters in front of you boring nobody numbskulls.

But, while the others eat, chat, steal and occasionally work, Peter is seeing and interacting with Neverland’s lost boys, Indians, mermaids and fairies.

PETER: Thinking’s for grown-ups—
WENDY: Lying’s for grown-ups. It’s their native language.
PETER: Pirates lie all the time—
WENDY: Grown-ups are pirates—
PETER: Really?
WENDY: Duh. Think about it. It’s just the sort of lie they’d tell you to make everything—
WENDY: Exactly. Like Santa Claus.
PETER: Crusts.
WENDY: The Easter Bunny.
PETER: Vegetables.
WENDY: God. Do you believe in God?
PETER: I believe in fairies.
WENDY: Close enough.

Never For Ever starts off absurd and crass and slowly morphs into something astonishingly sweet and tender.

WENDY: It doesn’t get better, Peter. It gets the same. Sometimes it gets worse. What changes is here: this heals, and then maybe it breaks again. But if you’re lucky, if you hold on long enough—you find the person who can glue it back together, who’ll hold it for you if it gets too heavy, trap it if it tries to slip away. You’re that person. You have this. You have me. Always. We have to make something of our lives now. We have to grow up. We have to pretend to be responsible.

Publisher: Playlab Press in I Will Kiss You in Four Places (published in CD format rather than on paper)

Cast: 6M, 5F plus lots of Neverland characters

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