Tri-Village News

Faithful 'Lion' lets grownups, kids share stage

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Grandview residents Victoria Schrock, Brian C. Gray and Hannah Allen are among 36 central Ohio youth and adults featured in the Carriage Place Children's Theater production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe , to be staged Friday through Sunday, March 7-9, in the VanFleet Theater inside the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave. in downtown Columbus.

The stage at the Columbus Performing Arts Center this weekend will become the arena for a battle between good and evil.

The Grandview and Carriage Place community centers will present C.S. Lewis' classic The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Friday through Sunday, March 7-9, at the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave.

The dramatization by Joseph Robinette "is actually very faithful to the book," said director John Heisel.

"It's way more faithful than the movie version, which is one reason why I was so excited about doing this production," Heisel said. "If you loved the book, you won't be disappointed by this adaptation. It will still be the story you know and love."

The cast includes residents from several central Ohio communities, including Bexley, Clintonville, Columbus, Dublin, Grandview, Hilliard, Upper Arlington and Worthington.

Having residents from so many areas involved helps make the play a true community theater project, Heisel said.

"We have both adults and children in the cast, and that's fun because we have some family units -- parents and their kids -- who are taking part," he said. "It's nice to see families doing something creative together."

The community theater productions generally alternate between plays that have children's casts only and others with roles for adults as well, Heisel said.

"Last year we did The Hobbit, which was all kids, and we heard from some adults a little depressed because they couldn't be involved in the play," he said. "The good thing about having adults who perhaps have some experience in theater is that the youngsters can learn from them and be more confident up on the stage."

Claire O'Shaughnessy, a sixth-grader from Upper Arlington, plays Susan, one of the children who accidentally wanders from an old wardrobe into the land of Narnia.

"I love theater and I love to perform," O'Shaughnessy said. "It's fun to lose yourself in a character, especially when it's a fantasy story like this one.

"This play is really fun because it's a story of magic and a beautiful land," she said.

Columbus sixth-grader Henry Brunton said he jumped at the chance to act in the play.

"I love the story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," he said. "It's a chance to do a really exciting adventure story on stage."

Brunton said he has caught the acting bug.

"I really enjoy learning more about acting," he said. "I think it's something I'll want to do more of as I get older -- maybe even become a professional actor someday."

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will take the stage at 7 p.m. March 7 and 8 and 2 p.m. March 9. Tickets at the door cost $5 for adults, $4 for children ages 12 and younger.

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