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Paynesville Press - December 14, 2005

Middle schoolers stage "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe"

By Michael Jacobson

Two dozen students from Paynesville Area Middle School presented a theatrical version of C.S. Lewis's famous story "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" over the weekend.

Two dozen students - in grades 6 thru 9 - formed the cast of the play, which was staged on Friday and Saturday nights in the school auditorium with hundreds of spectators.

C.S. Lewis wrote "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" in 1950, the first of his seven fantasy/adventure books about Narnia. In the story, four siblings - Edmund (Ralph Daby), Lucy (Kristine Hoeft), Peter (Patrick Hoeft), and Susan (Ashley Gleitz) - venture into the magical world through their wardrobe.

crowning In the winterland of Narnia, they join a battle between the evil queen, the White Witch (Mariah Fuchs), and the good lion Aslan (Dillon Herem). Only with the children's help can Aslan defeat the queen and return summer to Narnia.

Four children - Lucy (Kristine Hoeft), Edmund (Ralph Daby), Susan (Ashley Gleitz), and Peter (Patrick Hoeft) - are crowned as the new rulers of Narnia at the conclusion of the play as the Centaur (Mitchell Meed) watches.

Influenced by the conflict of World War II and by Lewis' Christianity, the story is a morality tale, with Aslan rising from the dead to help the children fulfill the prophecy and become rulers of Narnia.

"The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was included in Time magazine's 100 best English-language novels since 1923. Since its publication in 1950, it has also been made into a television version (1988) as well as play versions and now a new movie version by Disney, which also opened over the weekend.

Auditions for the PAMS play were held in late September with practice starting in early October. The play was directed by Jane Leitzman and Ken Vork.

Costumes for the play, which included all sorts of animals as well as mythological creatures, were borrowed from the Great River Educ-ational Arts Theater in St. Cloud.

Musical pictures

Cast of Characters
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Aslan: Dillon Herem
White Witch: Mariah Fuchs
Lucy: Kristine Hoeft
Edmund: Ralph Daby
Susan: Ashley Gleitz
Peter: Patrick Hoeft
Mr. Beaver: Hayden Spaeth (Friday) and David Ruprecht (Saturday)
Mrs. Beaver: Erin Guzy
Unicorn: Isaiah Gleitz
Centaur: Mitchell Meed
Mr. Tumnus: Matthew Andersen
Fenris Ulf: Trey Stanger
Dwarf: Isaiah Gleitz
Father Christmas: Eric Fenske
Elf: Jeb Davidson
White Stag: Ethan Brown
Professor: Ethan Brown
Mrs. Macready: Jessica Solum
1st Animal: Dana Holtz
2nd Animal: Amanda Fenske
3rd Animal: Connor Hacklander
4th Animal: Jeb Davidson
5th Animal: Amanda Fenske
6th Animal: Gabrielle Johnson
1st Newcomer: Connor Hacklander
2nd Newcomer: Dana Holtz
Aslan's Followers: Connor Hacklander, Gabrielle Johnson, and Jessica Solum
Witch's Army: Avery Davidson, Jeb Davidson, Connor Hacklander, Dana Holtz, Mitchell Meed, Lauren Spaeth, Michael Vaske, and Travis Wensmann
Wood Nymphs: Amanda Fenske, Dana Holtz, and Jessica Solum
Narrator: Karla Leitzman

Directors: Jane Leitzman and Ken Vork
Sound and Lights: Mike Putzke and Shawn Reinke
Set: Harrison Fangmeier

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