Turners Falls students travel to ‘Narnia’ for first-ever fall play

  • The White Witch (played by Fiona Hutchison), battles Peter (Grayson Bowse) in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Father Christmas gives out gifts to help the good creatures, and the humans, defeat the White Witch and her army in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The creatures of Narnia face off against the White Witch’s army in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Aslan appears on stage in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Arriving in Narnia through the wardrobe are Susan (played by Isabella Vachula-Curtis), Peter (Grayson Bowse), Edmund (William Hutchison) and Lucy (Lilya Glabach) in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The White Witch (played by Fiona Hutchison), and her dwarf warrior (Nova Aja-Shipley) threaten the woodland creatures in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Peter (played by Grayson Bowse) and Edmund (William Hutchison) lead the creatures of Narnia against the White Witch in rehearsals for “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” at Turners Falls High School and Great Falls Middle School. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/18/2021 4:43:43 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Students from Great Falls Middle School and Turners Falls High School are premiering their first-ever fall play this week with a production of “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The play will be performed Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m., with doors opening 30 minutes before the show starts. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

The production, which involves a combined 31 middle and high school students, breaks the chain of musicals that students have more typically been performing. Involved students and staff cited a learning curve involved with adapting to unfamiliar acting techniques, but expressed excitement in anticipation of the finished product.

Director Kimberly Rose recapped the “exhausting” production process Wednesday while painting an actor’s face. Rose, who helped put on “Narnia” at another school six years prior, said this is the schools’ first time performing the play, which adapts C.S. Lewis’ classic whimsical story involving four siblings who stumble upon a wintry fantasy kingdom. Rose said this particular play was an ideal choice due to its relative simplicity and popularity among the student body.

“I wanted to do a play that a lot of kids knew, and maybe have seen the movie,” she explained.

Stars of the show include sophomores Syna Katsoulis (playing Mr. Tumnus), Isabella Vachula-Curtis (Susan Pevensie), and Fiona Hutchison (Jadis the White Witch), as well as Hutchison’s brother Liam Hutchison (Edmund Pevensie), a sixth-grader. Rose said the contrast of age levels within the cast and crew makes for a more wholesome experience for those involved.

“It creates a lot of learning opportunities,” she said. “It allows for a bigger, more robust cast with more dynamics to work with.”

For Fiona Hutchison, age difference isn’t the only factor making the production uniquely enjoyable.

“I have a lot of scenes with my brother and we have a pretty interesting dynamic,” she said, her smirk clear even beneath her mask. “There’s a scene where I get to slap him, which is pretty cool.”

Liam Hutchison said he was most excited for the audience to observe the intricately-organized stage action the play has to offer.

“I think the audience will really like the battle scene at the end,” he said. “It’s all choreographed and stuff.”

Vachula-Curtis said a major aspect of bringing the show together has been the actors’ adaptations to roles performing a play, rather than a musical.

“You get coached on the acting more,” she said of plays. “In some of the musicals here, they don’t really focus on the acting. They focus more on the singing and dancing.”

Rose acknowledged this as an obstacle actors had to overcome, adding that extensive instruction was required to polish the “body positions” of less-experienced actors. She said, however, that the fruits of their labor would be apparent come showtime.

“It’s really charming and exciting,” she said of the play. “Lots of good energy.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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