The wonderful world of Narnia is coming to Arlington.
The Theatre Arlington production of author C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe debuts this weekend, and it's bringing the beloved characters of Narnia, including the brave lion Aslan and the wicked White Witch.
"It’s a wonderfully exciting adventure with live stage combat and sure to be a fun outing for the entire family," Gary Payne, Theatre Arlington marketing manager said.
The story follows the Pevensie siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, who move in with professor Digory Kirke after narrowly escaping the Blitz attacks in 1940s London. While there, the siblings discover a wardrobe that transports them to another land: Narnia, a fantastical place that is under the tyrannical rule of the White Witch. It's up to the siblings, Narnia's residents and Aslan to save Narnia from the villainy of the White Witch.
“What I really like about it is, while it's fantasy-based, they don’t have like a superhero or one person that does everything," director Lindsay Hayward said. "The only way that evil can be vanquished is if everyone works together. The children, Aslan, the citizens of Narnia all come and work together and that’s what I really like about it.”
Hayward grew up in children's theater seeing different variations of this play. With Lewis identifying himself as a Christian, many adaptations focus on the spiritual motifs of the production. Hayward decided to take a different approach.
“When I started researching this particular production, I found [Lewis] was kind of divided on whether or not this was a good Christian allegory," Hayward said. "I decided that we would step back from the Christian allegory a bit on this one and concentrate more on the time period in which C.S. Lewis set this, in the 1940s. That’s what I’ve tried to bring forth with this particular one and since C.S. Lewis didn’t necessarily like that comparison, we were going to look at another side or aspect of it.”
Hayward decided that side would emphasize the time period of World War II in the 1940s, with bombing sounds and sirens serving as the instruments to war's orchestra.
“Narnia is set as an occupied country," Hayward said. "It’s going to look like London during the Blitz. When the scene opens, we’ve got the London backdrop that has been painted, there is rubble, mist and fog rising up, and the iconic lamppost in Narnia will have the London Underground Tube sign that will say 'Narnia.'”
Hayward said the cast and crew have worked hard on this production and she is looking forward to opening weekend.
“People have put in a lot of time and effort into this," Hayward said. "Everyone has brought a lot of wonderful, creative ideas to the production. It’s going to be Narnia like you’ve never seen it before.”