As part of their 50th anniversary season, Walla Walla University theater will present "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," beginning December 4th.
Walla Walla University student Shane Wood will direct the play using Joseph Robinette's adapted version of C.S. Lewis' classic original.
"The script that we are using for this production is the adaptation by Joseph Robinette, which is written as a children's play. Though the script is the same, the approach to the script is much more mature. Evil can be scary and death is sad, this show has both and I didn't want to shy away from that," Wood said.
The play is set in the mythical land of Narnia, which is inhabited by talking animals and other mythical creatures. The land has been in the grips of a 100-year winter at the hand of the White Witch. According to prophecy, two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve will save the citizens of Narnia with the help of the great Lion Aslan, and the citizens wait for the prophesy to come true. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy find their way to Narnia through a magic wardrobe and set the prophecy in motion. After several trials, they finally defeat the White Witch.
The cast of the play features students, faculty and alumni. Academic Vice-President Dr. Ginger Ketting-Weller is in the cast. Alumnus Ryan Sturges helps with the music, and alumna Breann Eggers helps with choreography.
Wood is incredibly impressed with the quality of the acting.
"The depth and scope of the talent that came out for this play was just phenomenal. People just sensed that this show was going to be special and wanted to be a part of it," Wood said.
Wood notes that this play is a moving show for all audiences.
"‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe' is accessible to everyone. It is a story that transcends differences in age, religion, and ideals. It is a show that you can bring your children to and not be worried about the content, but also know that you to will walk away changed," Wood said.
The costumes and set design for this play are noteworthy as well. The set design uses minimal props, so the props used are especially significant. In terms of costumes, Wood wanted the animal costumes to be realistic yet still allow the actors to express emotion.
Wood said that the students involved give up lots of time to make the production successful.
"[The students] are the heart and soul of this program. They juggle full class loads, jobs and sleep deprivation and still show up every day to give everything they have - sometimes more than they have to spare - and make these shows come to life," Wood said.
Seating is limited, and Wood recommends that tickets be purchased in advance. For tickets, go to drama.wallawalla.edu or call 509-527-2158.