by Kaileigh Willis
Cedarville’s Department of Art, Design, and Theatre performed its first showing of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on Thursday, Feb. 1.
The story follows the four Pevensie children, Peter (Zachary Krauss), Susan (Heather Lange), Edmund (Hunter Johnson) and Lucy (Anna Luttenegger) as they enter the land of Narnia through a wardrobe in their uncle’s spare room. Upon discovering this new realm, the four children encounter many mystical creatures such as a faun named Tumnus (Jordan Fredericks), Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (Remy James Patterson and Alexis Long), and the notorious White Witch (Merra Milender) who has cursed the land of Narnia to always be winter and never summer. The citizens of Narnia eagerly await their true king, Aslan (Nathan Robertson), to return and deliver them from the witch’s reign. During this time, the four children find themselves fulfilling the old prophecy that sends them on a quest to save both Narnia and themselves.
Cedarville’s performance of the beloved fantasy novel encourages a few more chuckles than the original story by C.S Lewis boasts. Aside from the comical moments as well as a few insignificant plot differences, Cedarville’s show is largely comparable to the novel. The performance even includes battle scenes as well as a magnificent puppet of the lion Aslan.
The creative lighting, sound effects and beautiful set design help to maintain a magical tone throughout the entire performance. During the wintry portion of the play, snow falls onto the stage to accent the bitter coldness that the White Witch has doomed the kingdom of Narnia to endure. The glowing blue backdrop also emphasizes the frigid atmosphere, which makes the coming of Aslan all the more comforting. The backdrop lightens at the arrival of the lion, and the sound of birds chirping allows the audience to feel the same warmth and delight as the citizens of Narnia experience at their king’s return.
Costumes for the creatures in Aslan’s army play a large role in assisting the audience to see the individuals not just as animals but as citizens of Narnia. Mice wearing skirts and cats dressed in hats support the human-like acting of the animals and the enchantment of the land.
The portrayal of Aslan also beautifully captures the magnificence of the great lion. While two puppeteers (Andrew Sims and Wyatt Kyser) maneuver a marvelous lion puppet across the stage, Nathan Robertson uses his voice to demonstrate both the compassionate nature of Aslan as well as his tremendous strength and power.
Even during transitions between scenes, the enchanting ambiance continues as a result of the nymphs’ choreography and woodland music. Dressed as trees, the three wood nymph’s graceful movements across the stage as they move set pieces allows the audience to stay connected to the magic of Narnia.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a classic performance guaranteed to entertain audiences of all ages. The show will run in the DeVries Theater through Feb. 11. Tickets can be purchased at the Information Center in the Stevens Student Center or online at cedarville.edu/ticketinfo.
Kaileigh Willis is a freshman professional writing and information design major and writer for Cedars. When she’s not studying, Kaileigh likes to drink tea, read, and listen to music.