Stage adaption of classic novel made for entertaining theater

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By Gina Velasquez

A group of children from elementary schools on the Hill performed the timeless C.S. Lewis classic “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” Aug. 3 at the White Rock Baptist Church.
The set was simple and the 20-plus members of the cast utilized the entire auditorium by prancing up and down the aisles and fighting the elaborate final fight scene.
For being so young, the five lead characters did very well. The leads were Elise Chavez, 9, as Lucy, Filippo Delzano, 10, as Edmund, Lidia Appell, 10, as Susan, Ryan Rushton, 9, as Peter and Sage Wilcox, 10, as the White Witch. Wilcox’s older brother Braden, 18, led the cast playing the noble lion Aslan.
Chavez and Delzano’s lines were clear and loud enough for the whole audience to hear, which sometimes can be difficult to do in children’s theater.
“Chavez did a great job learning so many lines in such a short time period,” Director Cindy Richard said, a fourth grade teacher at Chamisa Elementary.
Cameron Haag had a stellar performance with his role of Tumnus. His compassion toward Lucy was heartwarming. Carter Haag and Marie Lee played the adorable Mr. and Mrs. Beaver wonderfully.
The cast was comprised of students from mostly Chamisa and Piñon Elementary Schools in White Rock.
Sage Wilcox said they had so much fun during rehearsal, they should have been filmed because there would have been a great blooper reel. Her blood-curdling scream at the sound of Aslan’s name startled and humored the audience.
Adding to the entertainment, student Kayden Shrader, sang the song “The Call” by Regina Spektor, from the movie Prince Caspian, based on the second book in the series. Nice touch.
“To spend a summer working and laughing with very bright elementary students as they toiled with a script designed for teens was a privilege and a pleasure,” Richard said. “The wonder I will always feel for Narnia is rivaled only by my wonder at the talent, courage and beauty of these children.”
Additionally, Richard commended stage manager Esperanza Tapia for the lighting.
The large cast worked well together and ran through their lines almost flawlessly. It was a fun performance for the audience, comprised mostly of family members of the cast.
There was no price of admission, the cast asked the audience to give donations to UNICEF, The United Nations Children’s Fund.
“The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” was one of my favorite books while growing up, I still have the old, dusty Chronicles of Narnia series of books on my bookshelf. This condensed, 90-minute stage version did not disappoint. It kept true to Lewis’ tale of friendship and faith.