Enter the realm of Narnia

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by producer and director Colin Cross debuts Dec. 5 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

Calissa Stewart (left) and Martin Pedersen rehearse for the upcoming performances of The Lion

The fantastical realm of Narnia is making its way to the stage in Penticton.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by producer and director Colin Cross debuts Dec. 5 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

Cross took on the challenging task of adapting the fantasy novel by C.S Lewis this summer. While working on the script, the idea of performing the piece in a theatre-in-the-round style (without a set or costumes) was suggested, due to the larger-than-life story.

However, Cross felt Narnia was too visual an experience to leave it entirely up to the imagination of the audience.

“Narnia is so fantastical that you want to include as much of this world as you can. On the other hand, you can’t do everything and so you ask the audience to imagine for you and most people are used to doing that for a play,” Cross said.

Cross, who generally isn’t a fan of page-to-screen or page-to-stage novel adaptations, tried to keep the script as tight as possible to the source material.

“We preserve most of the dialogue, but of course you have to move things around and invent new dialogue here and there, not much,” Cross said.

The casting call for the production drew in considerable interest from volunteers in Penticton and Summerland, particularly young people as the four main characters are children.

“It’s been a real educational experience for them,” Cross said.

Particularly 15-year-old Lily Eggert, who is more than excited to be taking on the role of Lucy.

“She arrived kind of jumping up and down and said ‘this is a dream I’ve had to be in a play of Narnia’,” Cross said. “She was dying to be part of it and then she’s cast as Lucy. In many respects for her it has been a dream come true.”

Cross added that all the children in the production are very excited to be recreating the realm of Narnia.

Cross faced a challenge adapting the novel, but the staging committee faced the even tougher task of bringing the wondrous universe to the stage setting, but according to Cross they have exceeded expectations.

“They have created stuff that goes well beyond what I had hoped for as a director,” Cross said.

He added the eight-foot wardrobe, a permanent part of the stage for the performance, is “jaw dropping”.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe will be performing Dec. 5-7 and Dec.12-14. Tickets are $20 for adults $15 for students and seniors. Children 12 and under are free. Friday at Saturday performances begin at 7 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or at The Dragons Den.