CHARLES TOWN—Adults and children players alike take part in a trip into a classic fantasy world as the Old Opera House Theatre Company and Arts Centre presents, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” August 5, 6, 7 and 8.
“This production is part of our summer family show,” said Steve Brewer, the organization’s manager/artistic director. “We’ve been doing this for five years. We started with just children in the shows years ago but decided to have adults this time, too. Everyone can perform side by side. It’s a higher quality show.”
The cast is a large one with 29 people on hand, consisting of a wide range of ages from 8 to 60.
“It’s a lot of fun. There are animal characters with costumes to match. There is choreography for both dances and fight scenes,” said Brewer.
During a rehearsal on July 29 Molly Bivens performed her leaps as she danced in the role of the White Stag. Not all of the costumes had been completed at that time, but Madison Barnes as the White Witch, was in full dazzling royal regalia. Eric Carr had his horse derriere as the Centaur. Madeline Tester was ready to go as the Unicorn and Ed Conn and Katie Wilson as Mr. and Mrs. Beaver had the appropriate ears and tales. In addition, Duncan Coberly, as the all important lion in the piece, was decked out with his mane.
This bizarre cast of characters has been beloved by children since they were created in a fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis published in 1950. It is one of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia, a fantasy land frozen in eternal winter and controlled by the white witch. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” has found its way into cartoons and movies. The OOH production is dramatized by Joseph Robinette.
The plot involves the plight of four youngsters who find their way into Narnia after entering a wardrobe. Narnia has been enslaved by the White Witch so characters have to fight to save themselves. Hence, the battle scene choreography.
Because restrictions caused by the pandemic have lightened up, at least at the moment, Brewer said he hopes to have a larger audience for the OOH production.
“There will be some seats between groups for social distancing but there will be more seats available and masks won’t be required,” Brewer said.
The theater can normally seat 327 people. The pandemic cut that number down to an audience of about 80 to 85. Brewer scheduled plays with smaller casts and masks were required for players and audience members.
However, despite challenging times, Brewer hopes things will be back to normal.
“We are extremely grateful and thank our generous patrons. We have also received grants from federal programs. We are alive and running,” Brewer said.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” performances on August 5, 6, 7 will be at 7:30 p.m. the August 8 performance takes place at 2:30 p.m. For ticket information, go to the website at www.oldoperahouse.org or call 304-725-4420. OOH is located at 204 N. George St.