| May 18, 2006

Feature Article - May 11, 2006

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Feature Article - May 11, 2006

TheLion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe atLand o' Lakes

by JeffGreen

The creative energies of the staff and students at Land o’ Lakes Public School were channelled into an original musical production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, much to the delight of an audience of family and friends last Thursday evening.

Several years ago, Anne Peace-Fast, now the principal at Land o’ Lakes, adapted The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for the stage. Normand Guntensperger wrote some music for it, and it was performed as a class play at Hinchinbrooke school.

“I heard some of Norm’s music earlier this year,” recalls Brian Robertson, “and thought it was very interesting.” Robertson has directed spring productions at Land o’ Lakes for years, and he decided to do The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe this year.


Preparations for the productions began when every student in the school was introduced to the songs though mass sing-alongs in February. Auditions took place before the March break, and for the past six weeks an intensive rehearsal schedule has been followed.

The play begins as narrators Kaitlyn Hannah and Matthew Stefan tell the story to a young Prince Caspian (grade 2 student Cody Matson).

On the main stage the Pevensie kids, Alex Desroches as wide-eyed Lucy, Karl Murray as the tortured Edmund, Jesse Mills as headstrong Peter, and Trisha Gray as gentle Susan, play hide and seek in their uncle’s country home, when Lucy stumbles into the wardrobe and finds herself in Narnia in the company of the Faun Tumnus (Andrew Barr).

The storyline of the play flows from that meeting, but in this production, unlike the Narnia books or the recent movie, the narrative is delivered through song as well as words and action. A chorus of enthusiastic primary grade students sang and danced their way through many numbers, helped out by Barry Harding and his crew of drummers, and Norm Guntensperger on guitar, conch shell, and a number of students on recorder.

Among the singing performances, perhaps the highlight was that of Jessica Desroches, a talented grade 3 student who played the role of Mother Christmas and sang a haunting melody.

Aleasha Sheckleton, as Jadis, the Evil Witch/Queen carried herself with tremendous assurance and delivered her lines with menace. Finally Aslan, played imposingly by Chris Newlove enters the fray and sets things to right.

The amount of behind the scenes work done by various school staff members was extensive, particularly Sherri Whan, who painted the rotating sets, Joanne McCullough who directed the young choir, and Anne Peace-Fast who made the costumes, including the excellent wolf and Aslan face masks.

The production moved quickly; the singing was excellent, and the battle scenes were a lot of fun to watch. This was a project that involved the entire school, and it was heartening to see how well they pulled it off.

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