The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Returning to Narnia

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The classic story involving unlikely heroes and a battle against evil returns to the McLeod Theater
Leah Williams

The classic story involving unlikely heroes and a battle against evil returns to the McLeod Theater for another visit to Narnia.

C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” will be brought to life on stage on the SIU campus, beginning Thursday, Nov. 30 and continuing until Sunday, Dec. 3.

“It is unlike anything else on the season,” said Christian Boswell, who plays Peter in the production.

J. Thomas Kidd, Chair of The SIU Department of Theater and director of the production, said bringing back “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was an effort to bring more family-friendly shows on campus.

“We had record-breaking attendance for this performance last year,” Kidd said. “And so we decided to bring the performance back again this year.”

The SIU production is filled with intrigue, action and adventure with the 1989 stage adaptation. In 1940, four siblings are among the many children who were evacuated from London during World War II.

The Pevensie children are sent to the countryside to live with a professor. Lucy finds a wardrobe that doubles as a magic portal to a far away land called Narnia, which has been cursed by an eternal winter.

Lucy returns with her brothers and sister, and together they navigate Narnia while trying to avoid the wrath of the White Witch. But brother Edmund has been beguiled by the evil queen.

The story is about wrestling with betrayal, finding redemption and triumphing over evil with the help of Aslan the lion.

“We all love the hero’s journey,” Kidd said of the story’s appeal. “Especially unexpected heroes like ‘The Hobbit’ or Frodo or Harry Potter. With Narnia, we have a basic hero’s journey with good versus evil.”

The original script for the adaptation was written by Joseph Robinette, who received his master’s and doctorate degrees from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Robinette is also the author or co-author of 55 published works and has received awards for a lifetime of adapting children’s classics for the stage. In 2013, Robinette was nominated for a Tony Award for the libretto of “A Christmas Story: The Musical.”

He returns to Carbondale for the production, and he will present a pre-show lecture on Dec. 3, at 1 p.m. before the 2 p.m. matinee.

Boswell said returning to their roles from last year has helped

“It allowed us to be a bit more nitpicky and get more in detail as opposed to last year,” he said. “It’s going to be more epic and more like a grand fantasy movie.”

Sets are designed by emeritus faculty member Ron Naversen, and the costume design is created by Wendi R. Zea. Janessa Harris is in charge of lighting, while Jerome Veit provided sound design.

The cast includes Christian Boswell, Emily Turner, Michael Sigillito and Madison Pruitt who play Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, the children who venture into the mythical land. Aslan the majestic lion is played by Ryan Negron.

Theater faculty member Susan Patrick Benson steps back into her role as the White Witch. Benson brings several years of experience as an educator and as a professional film and stage actress.

“I love playing the White Witch,” Benson said in a news release. “She embodies the darkest self-serving evil and uses her power to get what she wants. I’m a pretty compassionate person, so it’s fun to unleash the mean onstage.”

Performances for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and a special matinee performance on Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $6 for children and students.