Marc Petrocci and Luz San Miguel. Photo: Michael S. Levine
In chatting with Company Dancer Marc Petrocci earlier this season I learned a neat little tidbit about him: he loves swashbuckling movies. “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Three Musketeers,” “The Count of Monte Cristo,” he loves any tale of grand adventure. I thought it might be fun to sit and chat with him about these movies and his childhood adventures, and how they helped him prepare to play the boy who never wants to grow up. Marc's answers are in bold.
What’s the first big epic movie you remember watching?
Errol Flynn’s “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” My mom and dad used to check out Errol Flynn movies from the library all the time. And they’re all old black and white ones, like “The Artist.” There was dialogue but it had a similar feeling.
I was kind of expecting you to say Disney’s “Robin Hood” with the foxes…
I remember that movie! I still remember that ‘Oo De Lally’ song!
What about dress up? Any embarrassing pictures of you dressed as a pirate lying around?
Ohhh yeah and it wasn’t just at Halloween! It was every other Saturday or Sunday. My parents would let myself and my sister dress up in anything we could get our hands on. We would dress up as magicians, ninjas, musketeers...We lived in oversized tailcoats and tri corner hats.
So I imagine there was sword fighting with wrapping paper tubes? Ninja moves?
As long we didn’t hurt each other, everything was fair game. We lived on a street that dead ended into a park so the neighborhood kids would be out until 9 or 10 p.m. playing capture the flag or kick the can. Anything that had to do with hiding, espionage, things like that.
How much did you tap into these games to create Peter?
It’s sort of like a feeling rather than one game or another. It’s the idea that you’re creating the adventure as you go. And that the only limit is how much energy and creativity you can put into it. It’s like taking a simple set of bushes and turning it into a jungle.
The set designer made it very easy for me to let my imagination fly. The pirate ship, which is also the mermaid cove, is like an adult’s jungle gym.
Did you get to see any of the little guys dressed up as Peter Pan and pirates last time we staged the ballet?
A very, very fond memory from last time was a little boy whose mother brought him backstage to meet me, and he was fully in costume. She told me he often dresses up in his costume, and gets to play around as Peter in his backyard. I know our meeting was special for the both of us.
As a bit of a swashbuckler yourself, you had to be looking forward to the fight rehearsals with Lee E. Ernst (Fight Director), right?
I thought I’d had the time of my life working with Lee on Michael [Pink]’s Romeo and Juliet in the Mercutio/Tybalt fights until I saw the Pan sword. That’s when I pretty much knew I was going to be in heaven for the majority of the Pan rehearsals. On top of all the fight choreography on the ground we had a lot of aerial tricks and fight choreography from the air.
Any time there’s stage fighting or fencing in a production it adds another level of enjoyment for me. I thrive on it.
Do you ever get jealous that some of the other dancers actually get to be pirates?
Noooo, not at all. I love being Peter. Peter can be a pirate whenever he wants to be a pirate. And he is for a brief moment of the show.
You can see Marc perform the title role of Peter Pan May 10-13 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are “flying away” so get yours today! Click here to buy online, or call the Ballet’s Box Office at (414) 902-2103.
You can also ask Marc your own questions at the Artist Series Spring Cocktails event where he and Artistic Director Michael Pink will be on hand to speak on the creation of the show.