Thought-provoking is the name of the game for the fledgling No Rules, whose credits include the upcoming “Suicide Incorporated” and last fall’s well-received “Stop Kiss,” a show about a hate crime and two women falling unexpectedly in love.
Although “Peter Pan” isn’t the group’s first family-friendly show — that was last season’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” — it does mark a new approach. The production is No Rules’ first commissioned play and first wholly new main-stage show. The play about not wanting to grow up turns out to be a milestone on the group’s path toward maturity.
“Ultimately I feel like [the show] honors children and their imagination and their experience, and how what they’re living right now is so remarkably important to who they become,” Morgan says.
Wednesday-March 3. H Street Playhouse, 1365 H St. NE. norulestheatre.org. $25; pay-what-you-can preview Wednesday, and $10 previews Thursday through Feb. 12. $15 rush tickets are available for full-time students one hour before curtain on a seating-available basis.
‘Astro Boy and the God of Comics’
Best for age 14 and older
The subversive Studio Theatre is hardly known for its kid-friendly fare, and this play by writer-director Natsu Onoda Power wasn’t exactly designed for the cafeteria crowd. But given its roots in anime and its inception — born of Power’s childhood obsession — the show seems a good fit for high-schoolers. It might even be the ideal theater introduction for those who prefer comic books to curtain calls.
The “intergalactic” world premiere unfolds in episodes, following three narratives — the story of Astro Boy (the classic Japanese anime character created in 1952), the biography of his originator, Osamu Tezuka, and the history of Japanese animation. Aside from the show’s unconventional structure, there’s something else a little different.
“What might be interesting about this production is people draw onstage,” Power says of her second Studio Theatre collaboration. “I hesitate to say it’s new and interesting, because I’ve been doing kind of like the same thing for 10 years.”
Power sees it as a theatrical genre that blends acted scenes with drawing, choreography, audio clips and video. The setup seems perfectly suited for this story: As actors Joe Brack, Jamie Gahlon and JB Tadena bound onstage to take black ink to a massive sheet of paper, their stylized movements and facial expressions give the illusion that they have been lifted directly from the pages of a comic book. The only thing missing is a “POW!” popping up above their heads.