A new stage adaptation of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by Radford University Associate Professor Wesley Young premieres Saturday, Nov. 16, in the Pridemore Playhouse on the RU campus.
Based on C.S. Lewis' classic fantasy series, the play follows Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie as they escape the London Blitz and stay in the large countryside home of an old professor. On a rainy day, little Lucy finds her way through a large wardrobe into the magical kingdom of Narnia where an evil witch has cast a spell and the world hangs in the balance.
"I read the book again and it came to life for me all over," Young said. "I also tried to put myself in that wonderful state of susceptibility children possess in which they can readily accept people and things at face value."
He strives to tell the story in a brisk, fun way that will keep the spirit of wonder of that is prevalent in the original story.
"It is inherently dramatic, as in it is easy to visualize and it goes without saying that it is very engaging. I love that Narnia is a place where children can triumph in a way that children can’t in their 'real' world," said Young.
Many students involved also share fond memories of the book. Lighting designer Erin Bradley, a senior, recalls, "I first read the novel when I was about 10 and loved the fantasy aspect of the story and the animals with human qualities."
The production process has proved exciting for junior Kenzie VanderWerker, who plays the White Witch. She notes that "the whole cast has loads of fun, and yet we know why we are there – to make a brilliant eye-catching magical journey for the audience."
Tickets are $3 for children; $5 for seniors, faculty and staff; $6 general admission; and free with an RU Student ID. Group rates are available. Tickets are can be purchased at the Porterfield Box Office or by calling (540) 831-5289.
Visit the Department of Theatre and Cinema website for more information.