Triumvirate Theatre actors are taking to the stage starting Thursday to perform in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
The acclaimed tale follows four siblings who discover a snowy fantasy world beyond the doors of an antique wardrobe, where they meet helpful woodland creatures and are threatened by evil forces that lurk in the cold.
Kate Schwarzer, who is directing the cast of 30, said during dress rehearsals on Tuesday that she’s eager to hold a holiday performance for a live audience again.
She had planned to hold the show last December, but the COVID-19 pandemic upended her efforts. A few months later, the Triumvirate Theatre building burned down.
“I had to change a lot of plans. I wasn’t even 100% sure it was going to happen,” Schwarzer said. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Kenai Central High School lent the actors the Little Theater, she said, and for the past six weeks the cast has been rehearsing.
Schwarzer said “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was one of her favorite novels as a youngster, which inspired her to choose it for the production.
“I think it was probably my introduction to fantasy fiction,” she said. “C.S. Lewis is an incredible author, and I’ve read the books many times.”
The story has a lot of heart-warming motifs as well, which Schwarzer said was another reason it seemed like a good choice for the holidays.
“It’s a story that everybody loves, and I thought it would be a good fit for Christmas because of just kind of the uplifting messages,” she said.
Ian McEwen — who plays the protagonist protector lion Aslan — said people in the community yearn to gather, especially this time of year.
“It’s just good to be a part of it, especially at this time of year,” he said. “(It) just give(s) people something to do, and get out and maybe forget about all the insanity that’s going on in the world for an hour and a half.”
McEwen is active with the Kenai Performers and with Triumvirate Theatre.
He said being able to perform live is exciting.
“It’s very good and very cathartic to have something to do to express emotion and burn off stress,” McEwen said. “It’s always good to be doing theater and feeling energy from the audience.”
Terri Burdick plays Mrs. Beaver, one of the animals who helps the kids in Narnia.
She’s a thespian herself, often directing productions with the Kenai Performers. Burdick said she likes participating with the Triumvirate group because it does developmental work with younger actors.
“I like doing the Triumvirate stuff, because their focus is on kids. And so it kind of keeps me young,” Burdick said.
Jackson Hooper is one of two actors splitting the role of Edmund — the second youngest Pevensie sibling who gets tangled up in the dark side of Narnia.
The 12-year-old said he had already been in 15 productions, and that he’s excited to get onstage this week.
Hooper said acting allows him to make friends with his costars.
“All the friends and all the people — the people are all great,” Hooper said.
The actors are 10 and older, Schwarzer said, and the chemistry between the kids and adults works well.
“I think a lot of kids have done Triumvirate shows before together, but there are a few that this is their first show,” she said. “And then the adults — I have rockstar adults in this cast that really have just lent their knowledge to the kids and they really help set a good example.”
The show opens at the Kenai Central High’s Little Theater on Thursday at 7 p.m. There will also be performances on Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday at both 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Tickets are $15 and available online at the link provided on the Theatre’s Facebook page.