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Forgiveness found in Narnia adventure

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The cold world of Narnia brings shivers as the Pevensie children discover they have a purpose for their lives through adventure.

Director Becky Wardyn and her cast will help bring to life the stage production of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” the opening novel in C.S. Lewis’ classic “Chronicles of Narnia” series.

The Community Playhouse production opens Friday at the Fox Theatre, 301 E. Fifth St.

Wardyn has directed productions at the Sun Theater in Gothenburg and was an assistant director for the “Sound of Music.”

“This story written by C.S. Lewis was very memorable to me as a child, so I’ve always loved it,” Wardyn said. “I’ve read the entire ‘Chronicles of Narnia,’ but this one is very special.”

She said it was a production that came to mind when she thought about directing a play at the Playhouse, and she chose it also because it had never been produced here.

“The story itself is the story of four British children in World War II,” Wardyn said. “They’ve been displaced and taken to the country to stay with a professor.”

At one point when they’re exploring the mansion the professor lives in, Lucy Pevensie gets inquisitive and steps into a wardrobe. She enters a different world and that’s where the adventure begins, Wardyn said.

“They find out that there’s a purpose for their lives that they’ve been in the process of learning for many years,” Wardyn said. “It’s a fun adventure for them.”

There are all kinds of animals in the show and a lot of children’s roles.

“The costumes are super important and the makeup is going to be super important,” Wardyn said. “It has been so fun to work with Roxy Schow, she’s my costumer.”

Haylee Stryker of Callaway, in her first production at the North Platte Playhouse, plays the White Witch. Stryker works on a farm, manages the motel in Callaway and is an author of two children’s books.

“I’ve done this in high school with musicals and One Act,” Stryker said. “I just like theater because I get to get up on stage and get to be somebody I’m not, somebody different.”

After high school, Stryker performed community theater in Callaway and Gothenburg.

“I’ve watched some of the productions here, but I’ve never been on stage,” Stryker said. “It’s been kind of a dream of mine so I’m really happy where I am right now.”

Her goal was to be cast as the White Witch in this play.

“I got to play a villain once in my senior musical in high school,” Stryker said. “I had a lot of fun playing the villain and I wanted to play the villain again.”

She said the White Witch is a big character.

“She’s so scary and I wanted to try my hand at that and see how well I would do with it,” Stryker said. “Mainly, I just wanted to be a bad guy.”

Her favorite scene is when Edmund comes to the White Witch’s castle before he knows she’s bad.

“She gets mad because he didn’t bring his family to her castle,” Stryker said. “I get to yell and scream at him, ‘how dare you come alone.’ I get to walk across the stage, storm at him and almost slap him. That’s my favorite scene because I just get to let it all go.”

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 24 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 25; 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and at 2 p.m. on Oct. 2. Tickets are available online at northplattecommunityplayhouse.com.

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