Theater offers opportunity for rare perspective

Theater is alive. One of theater’s most valuable assets is that it’s alive. This can create the opportunity to view a rare perspective.

John Peterson delivers that originality in his portrayal of Mel Edison in Neil Simon’s “The Prisoner of Second Avenue,” currently at Pro Arts Theatre in Kihei. His performance is intense, exposing the torment and intimacy of a person losing their mind, all unfolding before our very eyes, step by agonizing step. His character isn’t particularly likable, but still you root for him while laughing at his expense.

This is Peterson’s meatiest role to date. The summer of 2000 gave us his Maui debut as “Twelfth Night’s” Molvolio. The following year he performed in “Learned Ladies,” where he met his current co-star and thespian in crime, the multitalented Jennifer Rose. After Shakespeare and Moliere, it was “Rocky Horror’s” Riff Raff, twice, “Chicago’s” Mister Cellophane, the opera house owner in “Phantom,” a collaboration with Seabury seniors in Chekov’s “A Cherry Orchard” and many more.

His fans often ask when Peterson will be performing again. This is it and it’s a rare one-time portrayal of this character. Performances end May 19.

Kudos to the entire cast for its dedication. His chemistry with Rose is pivotal. They play off each other, demonstrating the importance of reacting and being in the moment with each other. The family members are superb, offering levity at tense moments.

Theater is alive, even if not mentally well.

John Hilt