Just two actors manage to sweep the audience away into fantasy in this theater adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ bestseller, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Part of ZACH’s Theatre for Families Series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is magic from the very beginning – literally! The actors began the production with an interactive magic show on ZACH’s Wisenhunt Stage, an intimate, 130-seat theater.
Leslie Ann Leal plays Lucy to Chase Brewer’s Peter. She spoke to Texas Lifestyle Magazine about playing multiple characters and the role of magic in the show.
What is your favorite scene in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?
When Lucy comes back into the house from the wardrobe the first time and is trying to explain to Edmund what she had just experienced. In the mindset of Lucy, I think it’s beautiful that she has something so special to believe in. It’s amazing how she didn’t let her older brother discourage her from revisiting Narnia.
How did you prepare for the role? What is the most challenging aspect of this particular show?
I had a feeling there would be a lot of moving pieces to this puzzle. Before rehearsals began, I wanted to get lines memorized and out of the way so I could play around a lot more with movement when developing these characters. I also revisited the book and movie to learn more about the characters C.S. Lewis created. The most challenging aspect of this show is trying to tell such a detailed story in such a short time.
This role demands versatility since you and your co-star each play several characters. Do you like getting to portray characters in this way?
I love the challenge of becoming a mean and greedy witch, to a sweet adventurous young girl (Lucy), to the responsible older sister we all need (Susan). There’s also a lot of humor created when we quickly change from one character to another in a blink of an eye!
How does the play differ from the book and movie?
We have to tell the story in under an hour with just two people so there are many changes! However, I’m impressed with how much of the story we are able to cover. Being able to compare the play to other mediums is a great discussion for parents and teachers to have.
Talk a bit about the role of magic in the play and incorporating it with the audience as a pre-show magic performance.
When I think of magic, the words ‘wonderful’ and ‘exciting’ come to mind. When magic is present, the impossible begins to happen. Magic is used in this show not only to ‘wow’ our audience, but also to get them in the mindset of creative imagination and belief! The story of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a truly magical story. My hope in doing the preshow magic is to prepare our audience for the magic we create on stage when telling the story.
What do you hope children take away from this performance?
I hope children feel encouraged to be creative and seek adventure. I hope they leave wanting to explore the power of imagination. I hope they choose fearlessness, bravery, forgiveness, and love in their lives!
All photography by Kirk Tuck