A Pequot Lakes Community Theater play that will soon open for the whole family is also performed by families.
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” will open Friday night, March 15. Among the cast of many characters are several families of actors, that rehearse together on stage at the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium.
Kate Davis is directing the play, and three of her four children are acting in the play. She got the wheels turning on this particular play a year and a half ago, when she suggested Pequot Lakes Community Theater (PLCT) do a family-oriented play.
The play turned out to not only be for a family audience, but also a family-filled cast.
“I mentioned it would be nice to do a show like Peter Pan (which was performed in past years) that involved younger kids,” Davis said.
A music teacher at Crosslake Community School, Davis stepped up to direct the play as well. Though it’s her first time directing, she’s acted and danced in many productions.
She’s particularly excited about “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” because of the messages it carries, which she says go beyond good and evil.
“Edmund’s character shows you can make mistakes and still be forgiven and accepted by your family. It’s a good message to put out there.”
In the play, Edmund is one of the four Pevensie children who stumble into Narnia through a wardrobe. He’s fooled by the witch, who makes him believe she’s a queen.
Edmund is played by Jack Friday. Jack’s parents, Craig and Julie Friday, play Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who help the four Pevensie children through Narnia as they seek to end the rule of the witch and save Edmund.
It was Jack who got his parents into community theater. He’s performed in a few plays both in PLCT and at Central Lakes College.
Craig joined in on the PLCT experience after watching his son, and Julie saw how much fun the two were having and decided to join in as well.
“I just saw how much fun they were having, and the great people you meet,” Julie said.
She’s looking forward to the performances. It’s a story of good over evil, she said.
“It’s one of those nice stories where children save the day,” Julie said.
“It’s a fun, family-oriented show,” Craig added.
Kelsi Compton and her family are also appearing in the play. Kelsi is the middle of three generations of performers who are on stage at the same time.
She has four children, three of whom play mice. The third is swaddled to Kelsi’s front during rehearsal, though he will stay home on performance nights.
Kelsi and her mother, Cherie Landgren, play wood nymphs. When Kelsi was young, Cherie agreed to be a part of PLCT productions so long as her children could come. For this play, Kelsi used the same tactic.
“We said we’re kind of a box set,” Kelsi said with a smile.
She home schools her children, and made the auditions for the play into a school project. Her three-year-old, Jayce, auditioned by reciting his ABCs, and her two other performers memorized poems.
She said that being a part of the play is not only a fun family activity, but also instills good lessons into the children such as public speaking, and following direction from other leaders like Davis while gaining new experiences.
Kelsi suggested, as a fan of the book’s author, C.S. Lewis, that the audience not only see the play but also read the book.
The play follows the book well, but is much more condensed, actors said.
The performance runs about an hour and a half, and actors agreed that it’s a family-friendly performance.