Jamison Theater December 1–23
Though Studio Tenn’s upcoming production of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe may feature all manner of fantastic creatures, its storyline is anchored by the performances of four young actors. In this adaptation of the beloved fantasy novel, the Pevensie siblings—Lucy (Bella Higgenbotham Franklin), Edmund (Gus O’Brien), Susan (Morgan Davis), and Peter (Joe Leitess)—are transported to the wintry landscape of Narnia after discovering an enchanted wardrobe, only to find themselves at odds with the fearsome White Witch.
“This is a play for both children and adults,” said director Matt Logan. “The Pevensie children are the lens through which Narnia is revealed to the entire audience. I think when you combine the classic nature of the novel with the design and interpretation that we do here at Studio Tenn, we have a perfect match for the holiday season.”
Designing this show, however, has been an entirely new experience for Studio Tenn. While most productions deliver a more literal presentation of Narnia and its creatures, Studio Tenn presents a contemporary look through the use of large-scale puppetry and elaborate costuming.
“The White Witch is a fierce adversary. She rules this world, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to maintain control.”
One of the most challenging aspects Studio Tenn faced was bringing Aslan—the rightful King of Narnia who happens to be a talking lion—to life for the show. Logan and the design team took inspiration from the Tony and Olivier award-winning play War Horse, which featured full-size horse puppets. Aslan’s puppet will be operated by multiple performers and voiced by Nathaniel McIntyre.
The audience will be in for quite a surprise when Aslan is revealed onstage, but he’s just one fantastic element in the world of Narnia. The play will also feature the half-man/half-goat faun Mr. Tumnus (Brent Maddox), myriad talking animals, including the bickering Beaver family (Matthew Carlton and Nan Gurley), and of course, the White Witch, played by Karen Sternberg.
“The White Witch is a fierce adversary. She rules this world, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to maintain control,” Sternberg said. “C.S. Lewis’s books are beloved by generations of readers. What a thrill to join forces with a visionary theatre company like Studio Tenn and this talented group of artists to bring this story to life.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe runs December 1–23 in the Jamison Theater in the Factory at Franklin. Performances begin at 7 p.m. with matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available now at www.studiotenn.com.