I worked 4 full days with a conference call during my one day off. Add to that, Hubby was also called to jury duty for the 11th time in his life (don't ask). Plus, we had our regular activities of swim lessons and gymnastics. We knew it was going to be a crazy, busy week and we were geared up and ready for it. We promised the kids we would do something amazing at the end of all of it if they stayed on track, did their chores, and hung in there with us.
Our city has a wonderful community theater that does shows year round. Fortunately for us, this months show is geared directly toward children. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Several months ago, Hubby read this C.S. Lewis classic to the kids and they loved it. And now, how wonderful that we had it had a chance this week (our super busy week) to see it live! When we tried to explain what "live theater" was to the kids, they could not quite grasp the concept. Lil Sister has never even been to a movie theater so she kept thinking we were going to the movies. T was uncertain but as he often does, he just went with the flow and was excited because we were excited.
The show's entire cast was children. Very talented children. I have to say we were all very impressed with the quality. It was the perfect pace and duration. The first half was 45 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission, then another 30 minutes. The main highlights of the story were all there, including the epic battle at the end. They even handled the scene on the stone table very appropriately. Of course, Lil Sister loved Lucy and T loved Peter. The costumes and sets were all masterfully done as well.
We allowed the kids to select their own outfits. We suggested dressing up a bit but T did not want to wear a tie. I was fine with that but I was not expecting him to wear his knight attire with chain mail and helmet, complete with foam sword. Lil Sister wanted to wear her fairy dress I made for her complete with a new princess purse and field journal. She carries a notebook and pen/crayon/pencil around everywhere and is constantly jotting down notes. (That field journal came in handy later.)
During the show, the kids were captivated. They knew the story so they could follow what was happening. When the White Witch came on T covered his ears and hid in his chair. Lil Sister was just enchanted and sat very quiet whispering, "I'm not scared, Mama" as she clutched my hand. At one point I did have to laugh when she asked, "Mommy, why are the animals dressed as children." Then I had to explain it was actually the reverse and I think she finally understood the concept of live theater. When the wolf attacked Peter, T drew his sword and was ready to run onto the stage to battle. He was also cheering during the final battle scene, too.
We ran into some friends at the show who were there to see the actor playing Aslan (the lion). They brought him over to see the kids after the show. What happened next we were not quite prepared for. While T and Lil Sister were visiting with the Aslan actor, the other actors starting coming up to talk with them. T drew a huge crowd of actors and audience members because of his costume. Many of the actors remarked that his costume was better than their costume battle attire. Then he and his sister started giving their thoughts on the performance and before we knew it, they were surrounded by the entire cast entertaining them with their stories. At that point, Lil Sister pulled out her field journal and insisted they all give their autographs.
Toward the end, the director came out and said they were shutting down the theater. Yes, we were still there 45 minutes after the show ,visiting with the cast and crew. As we were about to leave, the actor who played Peter suggested he "knight" young T. It was an epic moment - T was completely awestruck and still thinks he is a knight of Narnia! We all took a family photo at the lamp post "in Narnia" and then bid everyone farewell. The wonderful cast invited the kids to join them in a few years, if they wanted, to participate in a summer theater production. Apparently, they think T has the whole method acting thing down as he really becomes the character he is dressed as.
I don't think we will ever top this theater experience. We may do things that are as cool but I think the kids will always remember this as one of the most epic nights of their lives. Us, too, as parents. We decided that it would have been a very enjoyable show and one we would have gone to even if we did not have kids. But let me tell you, sharing this particular experience with our children was truly epic and something we would not otherwise get to experience without being the parents of these wonderful kiddos.
Here are a few more photos, the first from the actual show. As long as there was not flash we could take photos. The last is of our kids in Narnia with the main characters. The red photo is how they did the stone table scene - very classy. For the record, T wants me to note, the Witch/Queen was very scary on stage but very nice as a regular person. I would like to note that Edmund is far from my favorite character but he was my favorite actor to meet. The little actress playing Lucy was ready to take Lil Sis home, too. Today, both kids have been making pretend visits to the theater and insist they are Lucy and Peter. Enjoy these last few photos. We will always cherish them as a reminder of our wonderful evening.