The magic of Narnia comes to Cincinnati communities April 7
(CINCINNATI) Cincinnati Playhouse’s popular Off the Hill series explores the magical land of Narnia with THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, touring community centers throughout greater Cincinnati from April 7 to May 26. Combining inventive staging with playful performances, the beloved C.S. Lewis novel becomes a play the whole family will enjoy.
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The adaptation by Le Clanché du Rand introduces audiences to a vast array of C.S. Lewis’ classic literary characters played by two casts of two actors from the Playhouse’s 2016-17 Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company, including Richard Buchanan, Ernaijsa Curry, Tatum Hunter and Taha Mandviwala.
Brian Isaac Phillips, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, is directing the play. “The thing that excites me the most about working with the team is the variety of imaginations coming together to work on the same story,” says Phillips. “The script is minimal in what it demands, but it inspires many different takes on how to tell the story. I was first exposed to this story in elementary school. My hope is that our production will be an introduction for a new generation and make the same lasting impression.”
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE tells the story of Narnia, beginning when the Pevensie children are taken to Professor Digory Kirke’s house in the height of the Blitz during World War II. Though they’ve escaped the dangers that lurk over London, England, the siblings grow bored in the quiet house. Trying to make the most of their dreary situation, their adventures begin with an innocent game of hide-and-seek. Lucy Pevensie stumbles upon a land she never could have dreamed of when she chooses a lone wardrobe as a hiding place from her siblings.
The original C.S. Lewis novel was published in 1950 after the tough times of the war ended. Lewis takes the audience’s imaginations to their full capacities with mythical characters, including fauns, dwarves and talking lions. The adaptation begins with Lucy and Peter talking about what happened to them in Narnia. Lucy then prompts Peter to share their experiences with the audience.
With only two actors and a traveling set, the show is a performance in trunk-style theatre, with wardrobe and props emerging from a single place throughout the show. Even very young children are able to see themselves in the characters, as the structure of this adaptation mimics children at play.
Daunielle Rasmussen, Director of Education and Community Engagement says, “This adaptation will be a completely magical experience for little ones. It definitely meets them on their level because the way that our team is going to play is how they play: with their imaginations.”
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE is the third and final Playhouse Off the Hill production for the 2016-17 season. The Playhouse Off the Hill series is supported by The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation and John C. Griswold Foundation. To see where this play is touring near you, visit cincyplay.com.
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