“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is one of the books in the seven part “The Chronicles of Narnia” series created by C.S. Lewis and has been loved by children ever since it was published in 1950. Now, the Stony Brook Pocket Theatre will stage the popular novel in December.
Pocket Theatre president Christopher Stratis, a sophomore majoring in theatre arts, explained the reason for selecting “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” saying “We wanted to do a production that many people have already been exposed to generate interest.” By showing a play that is widely known, Stratis and his fellow production members are hoping to draw in more people to watch their play and perhaps pique their interest for plays in general. “I actually read this book and saw the movie, too. I knew I wanted to be part of it,” Nicolette Margiotta, a freshman biology major who took the role of Mrs. Beaver in the play, said.
There are more than 20 members in the production. Sixteen are part of the cast and six are technicians that work for stage lighting and setting. The team has been preparing for the play since mid-September, with regular rehearsals last for three hours and usually run from 8 to 11 p.m. As the date of the performance neared, the team increased its efforts by practicing together more frequently.
“Like every other extracurricular activity here in Stony Brook, it is hard just to have people come without having conflicts with exams and classes. We have different schedules, which makes it a lot harder to gather everyone and practice together. We are trying work around it by having more rehearsals so that all of the cast members can be confident with their roles,” director Katherine Gorham, a freshman theatre arts major, said. During the rehearsal on Nov. 19, members practiced the play’s first and second acts, which form a large part of the entire work. Each member knew their own responsibilities and was willing to devote as much time as they needed to master their roles. “We are very fortunate to have such committed people,” Stratis said.
Although Pocket Theatre is USG funded, the club’s members had to create costumes by themselves. “Because we don’t have a separate costume crew to design and create and find the costumes for us, we had to give the responsibility of coming up with a costume to the actors,” Gorham said.
Maho Takahashi, a sophomore liberal arts major, is playing the role of white stag. She is preparing her costume for the character and also designing a flyer of their show for the play. “We can play well as long as we have a stage. Although we cannot have expensive clothes, we can pretend to have one. That’s acting,” Takahashi said.
Despite the difficult practices and insufficient resources, the cast and crew are working hard to perform their roles the best they can. During the rehearsal, every member focused on improving their acting and the quality of the play with the help of Gorham and Stratis. Having already memorized their lines and positions on the stage, they are currently focusing on improving emotional expression in the rehearsals. Paige Borak, a freshman psychology major, is an experienced actress who has performed 30 shows in the past four years. As the White Witch in the play, she is excited about the upcoming production. “It’s so much fun being a bad character. It’s fun to portray someone that’s not like you,” she said.
However, due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, the club’s performance has been pushed back by one week. The new dates for the play are Dec. 6 through 8, at 8 p.m. in The Staller Center for the Arts’ Theater 3.
The president is expecting excellent attendance since the production is brand-new this year. The director, cast members, and technicians are trying their best to provide the audience with a great performance. All they ask for is an audience.