The wonder of Narnia comes to Lee
As part of the Homecoming festivities, Lee Theatre opened its production of C.S Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on Friday in the Buzz Oates Blackbox Theater. The play is sold out, but the theatre department's waitlist policy offers students one last chance to try to get tickets.
Director and Associate Professor of Theatre Dan Buck said the cast and crew have been preparing for two and a half to three months after the first show they selected, “A Civil War Christmas,” did not work out due to licensing issues.
“We kind of put our heads together and thought, ‘What else would be well received and be a good thing to offer during Homecoming weekend?’ And we came up with this. Normally we would’ve probably thought and planned longer, but we had to change plans,” Buck said.
Buck said this detour did not dampen the morale of anyone involved in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
“I think it’s that everyone knows the story,” Buck said. “I don’t have to explain to designers or the technical director or anyone involved in making this thing happen—or actors. I don’t have to re-explain who the characters are or what they’ve been through; they all just sort of know this story in their bones. And even if they didn’t know the Narnia story, they know the Christ story, so it’s got a narrative that’s so ingrained in us that we had a really common language very quickly.”
Performers in the play agree with Buck.
“I’m so happy. I was going to audition for [“A Civil War Christmas”] anyway, but I love Narnia because I grew up reading the books and watching the movies, and I like British things,” said sophomore theatre major Haley Charles, who plays Lucy Pevensie, the youngest of the four sibling protagonists.
This is a familiar story for many on this campus. Freshman nursing major Tory Irmeger echoed Charles's sentiment.
“I grew up watching Narnia,” Irmeger said. “At least with this one I’m pretty familiar with it. I’ve read some of the books. I love C.S. Lewis. I like the stories; I like the passion behind them.”
Members of the cast and crew agree they are looking forward to bringing this well-known story to life for the audience.
Charles admits her hope for an awestruck audience as they experience this show, including “lots of wonder, because I feel like it’s a show that makes you reflect, and also you’re kind of transported into this magical world. … I hope they take away a sense of awe, too, because it is the story of Christ,” Charles said.
The sentiment is repeated by the others involved with the play as well.
“I hope that they have a good time, that it’s fun for them to watch, but that they also have a sense of wonder—that it sort of puts them back in the place where imaginations are running wild and they feel free to imagine other worlds and faraway places that aren’t real,” Buck said. “That’s something I hope the play does regularly for our audiences.”
Those who hope to see the play are already anticipating what they will be shown when transported to Narnia.
Irmeger says she hopes to see a new side of this story if she is able to get in. She anticipates the actors will be able to “bring a story that I already know to a different light. It is a little bit of a childish kind of story, but it’s for adults because of the meaning behind it, so I guess just really like emphasizing that,” Irmeger said.
As the cast and crew prepared for opening weekend, spirits were high and they were confident in the material they have worked on.
“I think it’s going to be very charming. I think people are going to remember it fondly and be kind of wowed and enjoy our production of it,” Buck said. “It is designed for children, so the children that come and see it will love it, but everyone’s so familiar with the story that I think everyone’s going to love coming back to Narnia.”
The play opened Friday, Nov. 2, at 7:30 p.m. It is running Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 10, at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The play is sold out, but Lee Theatre has a waitlist policy, as outlined below:
“The box office does have a waitlist policy for all shows that are sold out. We start the waitlist about an hour before each performance, and tickets are released on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who wish to be put on the waitlist must be present at the time and stay in the building so that they can receive tickets immediately as they are released. Unfortunately, we cannot add names to waitlists ahead of schedule, as it is an in-person policy only.”
More information about Lee Theatre's current season can be found at www.leeuniversity.edu/theatre, on the Lee University Theatre Facebook page, or by calling (423)-614-8360.