PACKING LIST: When one goes to the theater, one is generally not presented with a packing list by the people behind the venue. You're free to include what you like in your purse or bag or pockets, if you show with anything (mints and lip balm and tissue and house keys are standard, however).
But The Mountain Play is not your typical theater or, really, your typical day out. There is a suggested packing list, on the Mill Valley venue's site, and it not everything will fit in your front pocket. A hat? A hiking map? Sunscreen? Layered clothing? Nope, you're not going to be on a plush chair in an enclosed setting that comes with its own AC or heat. You'll be at some elevation -- hence the name The Mountain Play -- and you'll be watching a musical that suits the adventurous spirit of hiking up Mt. Tamalpais to enjoy a cultural treat: "Peter Pan." The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, and his Londoner pals, and Captain Hook, too, of course, are the singing stars of the 2015 presentation, which opens for six daytime performances on Sunday, May 24.
Worth The Trip
THEME DAYS: As with many past Mountain Play happenings, each performance comes with its own lovely theme. The nature of the musical doesn't change -- Peter Pan will still stand, hands on hips, and laugh at convention -- but the pre-show entertainment will bear a different flavor each time. Kid & Family Day, Mother Earth Day, LGBT Day, Community Day, Arts Education Day, and Father's Day, which is Closing Day, will all unveil their own ahead-of-the-musical fun times, starting at 12:30 p.m. (the musical begins at 2 p.m. on each of its six days). Father's Day also brings a picnic contest, so best prep for that, al fresco-loving foodies. As for hauling food along your hike to the outdoor theater? You can, and alcohol is permitted, too (or it may be bought at The Cushing Memorial Amphitheater). As for testing your friends on how much they know about they long, long history of The Mountain Play, one of the most venerable of Mill Valley traditions? Well, this is the 102nd annual, so, absolutely, many a theater lover has been a Mountain Play maven over many decades.
AND IF YOU'RE A PUPPET PERSON... arrive even earlier on any of the dates. The Fratello Marionettes will be in the house. Or, er, on the mountain. Marionettes dancing atop a mountain sounds like just the whimsical start an imaginative summer season requires.