Due to word of mouth, the Vanguard University Department of Theatre Arts’ production of Narnia sold out by its final show.
From Sept. 20 to Oct. 6, the land of Narnia and its many creatures inhabited Vanguard University’s Lyceum stage. Created from C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the musical revue, Narnia, was written by Jules Tasca, Thomas Tierney and Ted Drachman. Vangda Eggington directed the show.
Looking back on the show, choreographer and actor Bretlyn Schmitt said she enjoyed the experience, the challenge and the result. Crafting dances to capture the various scenes challenged and stretched Schmitt, she said, “I prayed about it a lot.” As a junior performance directing major, Schmitt has choreographed four other shows at Vanguard and multiple others in high school.
Detailing her dance-forming process, Schmitt said: “Each one kind of evolved from a materialized idea.” She took inspiration from the time period in the book and the time of year, which was Christmas in Narnia. Schmitt said the dark magic song and its aggressive dance were her favorite.
Describing the show, she said: “It’s very magical. It brings out the childlike essence in a lot of people.” It was fun to see college kids just being kids again, she added. Nine-year-old Margaret Martin, who attended the theatre department’s summer acting camp, said: “I loved it, and on top of that, it really made me want to go back to the summer camp.”
Along with creating the dances, Schmitt played the role of the White Stag, which represented the Holy Spirit. Finding a way to play an animal character and make it believable is no small task. As weeks of practice went by, Schmitt said it was very impressive to see the actors grow and capture the nuances of their characters.
Another important part of the show went beyond entertainment. As in Lewis’s book, the musical revue clearly displays the Christian message. Schmitt said being at a Christian university allowed them to really develop that message through the script and characters.
“It was a great way to start out the season, and we are excited about the next four shows,” Theatre Manager Bill Hughes said. The theatre’s next production, Dancing at Lughnasa, opens on Oct. 25.
To learn more about upcoming shows, click here.