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"Peter Pan": American version of the Pirate Ship

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"Peter Pan": The American version of Act IV - The Pirate Ship - with Barrie's handwritten changes, given to me by Nico, who was given it by Barrie.

This is part of the version performed by Maude Adams when the play opened in Washington DC on 16 October 1905 before transferring to Broadway. Most English references have been changed to American ones – “Down with the stars and stripes!” instead of “Down with King Edward!”, although “We hope our sons will die like English gentlemen” has not yet become “American gentlemen” as it is in the 1907 Paramount script.

As for Peter’s last ego blast – “Oh, I’m a wonder! Out with the top-gallant mast and lower the jib-boom sail, and tell Lord Nelson if he doesn't heave to, Peter Pan will sink him! Abe Lincoln, are you looking at me! Paul Jones, do you see me! George Washington, what do you think? I’m the wonderfullest boy that ever was, and I don't say it in boasting, but just because I can’t tell a lie!” – it seems to have been cut entirely as there’s no sign of it in the Paramount script.

Nico lent Roger Lancelyn Green the ms when Roger was writing his "Fifty Years of Peter Pan" in 1953, and he includes a fairly detailed description as well as quoting Peter's George Washington/Abe Lincoln dialogue; see pages 106-108.

Barrie’s hand-written additions are a follows. Facing page 4:

Has it gone Smee? Can I get up?
(Fear of boys)
(imitating Smee) Ah, the spalpeen’s looking for you yet.
Just wait a minute, Captain. Trust your little Smee. (Pirates come – Peter exits.)

Facing Page 8:

There’s none can save you now Missy
(imitating Wendy) Yes there is, there’s one who never fails
Who’s that?
I have perfect faith in Peter
Peter! He’s dead
As if a pirate cd kill dear Peter Pan
Where is he then?
(revealing) He’s here!

The additions require Peter to imitate both Smee and Wendy, and may well have been jotted down by Barrie for the upcoming 1905/06 London revival rather than for Maude Adams and the American version. Celia was famous for her impersonations, and it was thanks to her that Barrie added the long sequence on the Marooner’s Rock where Peter imitates Hook – indeed, it may well have been a factor in recasting Peter with Celia in place of Nina Boucicault since the impersonation is an important plot point.

Interesting that the additions to Peter’s famous “I’m youth...” declaration have been crossed out here (in 1905) since they appear intact in the Paramount version two years later.

Peter: I’m youth – eternal youth! I’m joy - I’m the sun rising – I’m the new world – I’m poets singing – I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg – I’m joy, joy, joy!

Perhaps again Barrie was simply using the American typescript to make notes for the upcoming London revival ...


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