Connie Company’s Young Actors Rekindle the Enchantment of Narnia
It’s snowing as the curtain rises at the Davidson Community Players Armour Street stage. For the next hour-and-a-half, twenty-six youthful seven- to seventeen-year-old thespians rekindle unforgettable ventures from the land Narnia—embellished by awesome chases, duels, escapes, and plenty of drama.
Under the capable direction of Jessica Zingher, Davidson Community Players’ Connie Company opened the 2022 Season with Joseph Robinette’s version of C. S. Lewis’ enchanting story, The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe. The youthful cast and crew, most appearing for the first time on the boards of the Armour Street Theatre stage, have been working feverishly to recreate the love, faith, and courage that dominate Lewis’ classic family tale. They succeed.
Amelia Eagleson plays Aslan, the Lion, and Ella Newell plays the Witch who claims to be the Queen. Their costumes, designed by Lisa Altieri are marvelous. All the other creatures who inhabit the fantastic land that appears beyond the wardrobe are decked out in amazingly beautiful costumes designed by Ashley Bell. Altieri and Bell deserve an award!
So does Jim Kallo, the set designer. It’s clever. The combined ingenuity from Zingher, Kallo, and Emiliy Klingman, led to their design in a clever manner to show and play additional scenes from behind a back-lit scrim—whether forest, castle, or beyond. Most effective! I always enjoy theatre magic produced behind a scrim. And for The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, it adds an alluring dimension of awe.
Ella Grace Wolfe plays Susan, the eldest of the children who dare to probe beyond the wardrobe, although Eliana Slade as Lucy is the first sister to discover the enchanted land of Narnia. Their brothers are Edmund, who becomes a hero, played by Adrian King, and Peter, portrayed by Bryant Grey, who is tricked for a while, by the Witch.
Jackson McRee plays Tumnus the kindly escort who introduces the children to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, portrayed by Connor Cooper and Kyara Miranda. Amelia Eagelson also portrays Father Christmas.
A couple of Fairies, played by Lia Corbitt and Sam Kaplan, are among the cast of creatures who also scurry around to set and re-set the stage. Brooke Simonette and Lacey Barnes are Birds. Chloe Hankins plays a Mouse and Lillian Green a Hare.
Avelyn Garrison is costumed as Unicorn, Sam Kaplan as White Stag, Tessa Fuller as Centaur, and Avery Baker as Elf.
A pair of Wolves are played by Brianna Zingher-Gillespie and Brooks Kammeyer. Sawyer Thomas is a Bat, Ella Pizza a Vulture, and Carter Bolling a Fox.
The Witch’s followers include Dwarf, played by Piper Young, and Fenris Ulf, portrayed by Amelia Vaughan.
Davidson Community Players’ The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe will continue to be staged this weekend, February 4-6. Young viewers in the audience are entranced. Kids identify with the characters in the show and adults never tire of the C.S. Lewis loving classic from The Tales of Narnia. I am always in awe of the story and applaud Connie Company’s production of the play.
Connie Fisher, neé Consuelo Carmona, is a Davidson resident who grew up in Mexico City where she became a journalist and acquired a taste for the theatre. Her preference for work behind the scenes led to an interest in writing reviews—Yale Rep among her favorite troupes. Connie is the author of Doing it the Right Way, the biography of an Italian hatmaker. Her prose appears with 87 other international writers in The Widows’ Handbook. An active, founding member of Lake Norman Writers, currently she is writing chapters of memoir and continues to review theatre in the Lake Norman area.