After the cold and dark winter, spring returns. It rejuvenates and restores, breathing new life into us all. Any time people come together to face a challenge, they meet countless obstacles – some of them predictable, some unknown. We first set out to produce The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in the spring of 2020. We got as far as our matinee performance for the Lebanon Middle School 8th grade, and it was our first and last show. After curtain, I explained to the cast that we would all be leaving school with no return date in sight. We were all devastated. Our set, props, and costumes stayed on stage, and we went home. Our original cast faced every challenge I presented them throughout the process with the best grace and fortitude Narnia has to offer. What stood out to me the most throughout our journey was the incredible family our cast and crew formed. Every single student was hands-on, helpful, loving, giving, and nurturing. I never encountered an attitude or an eye roll or a “me first” mindset. These students always took care of others before themselves, always made sacrifices for the show, always lifted one another and celebrated strengths. The grace, selflessness, kindness, and welcoming spirit that moves throughout this cast and crew is a simple reminder how we can all face our challenges together. By welcoming those we don’t know well, by teaching those eager to learn, by forgiving mistakes, by embracing others in their pain and fear as well as in their joy and triumphs, by giving love and compassion, and by serving others first we can thrive together in a harmony that seems only possible in a fictional place like Narnia, but is actually very achievable in our own worlds, large and small. We ended our last rehearsal with the words “the last shall be first,” and that is exactly how each person involved in this show approached the work. We continued to take care of one another the best we could through our quarantine, but our cast never came together again. This fall, we recast our show, eager to try again. Some of our actors are original to their roles. Some of our actors had been 8th graders in our first audience. We put a quick timeline on our process and pushed one another to rebuild the show through backward design. We welcomed newcomers, relearned our lines, looked to the actors who paved the way for us, pulled our costumes out of storage, found our sound and light files, dusted off binders, and brought our show back together. In a recent rehearsal, I asked the cast to each share why it is important that we tell this story. Their answers spoke of hope, resilience, love, goodness, and joy. I felt so grateful to witness that moment, to see the best we have to offer shining in each of them. I hope our original cast knows what a legacy they left us and I hope they are able to join us on stage as we take our bows this weekend. They are all so present in this show. Aslan’s final line of the play says “Yes, the children will find their way back here again. Perhaps not through the wardrobe – but there are other paths that lead to Narnia. Oh yes, they will return someday. It is important that they return, for good people need good rulers and good rulers need good people. That is perhaps the Deepest Magic of all.” We have returned.
A Special Thank You To...
LHS Administrative Team
Fall Sports Coaches
The Smith Family
The O'Neill Family
Produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY of Woodstock, Illinois.
Click on a cast member with a to view their bio.