What's it like to do a family production? What is a family production for that matter?
I am Karen de Lucca and the director of this year's family production of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," and the organizer of the summer youth program for Chetco Pelican Players.
Doing a family production means that the play is cast not just with young actors, but also with parts for their family members, be it backstage or on stage. It means that young actors get to work with older actors, actors of all ages in fact. Together, they form a very powerful team.
This is a group of people that started training in theater skills eight weeks ago in an acting camp, building their improv skills for when things go wrong, building their confidence in themselves and their teammates, and learning how to save scenes and to work with a team of people in a high-intensity environment.
I used to do corporate engineering and emergency services, and I find there are really the same key ingredients in team building no matter the environment or the ages.
We affectionately call this play of ours Narnia, the magical land that C. S. Lewis wrote about where good triumphs over evil. It's our nickname for our group at the theater and on Facebook as well.
In Narnia, I get to see a mother and a daughter play eerily similar roles, but a generation apart. I get to see them brainstorm on costuming ideas not only for themselves but for other characters.
I see an entire family involved and helping, and their co-worker's family offering everything they can to support with costumes and time, sourcing for creative bits here and there to help make it magical.
I see a cast and crew accepting a young disabled woman with no prejudice or sense of inconvenience, but rather with a very loving support. It strikes me that theater is a very hate-free environment, in many ways.
I see families that help with all aspects of the production to support their children: They bring costumes, they hang posters around the community.
I see mother, daughter and son, working together; playing, fighting, and play-fighting, all with love. I see teens that reach for each other for support. I see moms who reach to each other for support. I see dads who provide endless support and patience. I see new love and old love.
I see those cast members who are not blood relatives but nonetheless extended the titles of honorary family members. There appears to be an entire imaginary family tree, in fact. I see my own family, right there with me brainstorming on creative aspects and helping solve problems.
So all of this is what I see in this family production that takes place in the magical world of Narnia, behind the wardrobe, as it were.
I thought perhaps I would ask my cast what they saw. What was their favorite part of Narnia? What did it mean to them? The answers simultaneously touch me and crack me up. I thought you might enjoy them too.
"Narnia is magical, it makes me feel magical. My favorite part is when the fight happens at the end."
"My favorite part about Narnia is being with fun people and fun characters, and playing opposite Mr. Beaver"
"I enjoy fighting Maugrim. It would be fun if I could slay the beast but my wife has it covered."
"I love to be able to not only participate in a play with my daughter but a group of people who are easy to love and who love acting. My favorite scenes are when Maugrim wrecks Tumnus's house and when Aslan is taunted by Maugrim, 'How many mice have you caught today, Little Cattykins?'"
Mrs. McCready the housekeeper
"I feel that my favorite part of Narnia would have to be using a whip. I have always wanted to play an evil part and use a whip. Now I get to."
the white witch
"My favorite part is the Turkish Delight."
"My favorite part was when the Leopard saved Edmund from The White Witch."
"I love the fact that I can do this world of magic along with my three wonderfully talented children"
"I like the imagination that comes with Narnia and the fantasy of a faun and talking animals."
Ca'mare'a Freeman, leopard and stage manager/assistant
"Narnia andhellip; hmmm andhellip; saying what it means to me is a little difficult, but I can do it. In simple words it means hard work, fun people, some less fun people, and lots of fun face paint. It's a great show and it means a lot to me."
"Narnia is a magical world where a family strengthens and grows closer as they embark on one of life's many adventures."
"My favorite part is the leopard saving."
"My favorite part about this play is the exquisitely beautiful ambiance created at moments by the light and sound effects closely followed by the unique way Narnia has of totally screwing up the space-time continuum (in the first act at least)."
"Narnia is an amazing show that gives both the audience and the cast a spectacular sense of adventure." (an erased comment was added back in by de Lucca because she said was too funny to omit: "It's filled with evil wolves and wise fauns")
Tumnus, the faun
"The challenge of playing Peter has greatly improved my acting skills. I thank Karen for giving me the opportunity."
"In Narnia, I like the White Witch's acting. I also liked killing Aslan."
"One of my favorite parts would be The White Witch and her evil ways and when the two Sons of Adam and the two Daughters of Eve are crowned."
Stephanie May Reed,
"I like the part when we kill Aslan."
"I love killing Aslan!"
"For the kids to come out and learn about and enjoy the theater experience, it really is a spectacular thing"
Andrew M.D. Simmons,
"I have the cutest and most violent little group of 'uglies.' I adore them! And yes, they all want to ride on Aslan's back."
Karen de Lucca,
director, after reading the comments
"As the features editor for the Pilot, I have to admit, I cheated. I read the comments before putting in my 2-cents worth. I love how C.S. Lewis weaved his Christian beliefs into the Narnia stories. I would do the same. I note how many mentioned how they loved killing Aslan (who repesents Jesus Christ - The Lion of Judah). I love the fact that Aslan, like Jesus Christ, rose again and won the battle."
the professor and Father Christmas
The final performances of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" are at 7:30 tonight (Aug. 9) and 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10, at the Chetco Playhouse 1240 Chetco Ave., Brookings.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth and are available at Wright's Custom Framing and Art Supplies in Brookings and New Wave Video in Harbor. For reservations, call 541-469-1877. For more information, call 541-469-1857 or visit http://www.chetcopelicanplayers.org.