The magic of ‘Narnia’ at Crosby Center

Dec 03, 2017
Photo by: Leah Bannister Edmund (Chris Hayes) battles the White Witch (Christi Goosman) in Maine Actors’ Studio’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Belfast — Midcoast Actors’ Studio’s new production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” opens Friday night, Dec. 8, at the Crosby Center, 96 Church St.

Performances will continue Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 17. Tickets are available via brownpapertickets.com, linked at midcoastactors.org for $15, $10 for students. They also will be sold at the door.

‘Tis the season for snow in Maine, but Chris Goosman may want it to be winter all year long. The award-winning Searsport teacher is playing the White Witch in the play based on the classic children’s books by C.S. Lewis.

“Wardrobe” tells the story of the four Pevensie siblings who travel through a wardrobe to the magical world of Narnia, where the evil White Witch and her army battle against Aslan the lion and his animal followers. Aslan the lion comes to life in the form of a giant puppet, designed and built by director Leah Bannister.

“I wanted to go more abstract and creative, incorporate something unique to the stage,” Bannister said, referring to the puppet. “I didn’t want to do the whole mask thing.”

Aslan is controlled by three puppeteers, one of who, Nathan Roach, also provides the voice of Aslan; Eugene Newton and Chip Curry are the other puppeteers. Playing the four children are Gracie, Erin and Chris Hayes; and Maci Burgess, while the adult versions of the children are played by Roach, Curry, Deb Fournier and Jen Hart.

Portland actor John Dalton Logan plays Tumnus. Bryan and Bobbi-Jo Hayes play Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Angela Domenichelli plays Maugrim. Olivia Andrews plays the centaur. Danielle and Marina Bannister play the dwarf and elf. And Jay Holland is the professor and Father Christmas.

Various animals are played by Isabelle Holt, Esme Deschamps, Sarah Joy, Teagan Fournier, Patricia Saucier, Michaela Newton, Jadon and Edna Dodge. Reilly Newton and Daniella Domenichelli fight in the witch’s army.

MAS Artistic Director Jason Bannister, who serves as stage manager, producer and lighting designer, is excited about the size of this production.

“With a cast and crew over 40, this is the biggest production for MAS yet,” Bannister says. “After the enormous success of ‘Frankenstein,’ I am excited to see the audiences flock to the Crosby and see our holiday show.”

Both Leah and Jason Bannister worked together with Greg Marsanskis and Brian Ross on the set design. Linda Marie designed the costumes. Jay Rosenberg is the sound designer. Angela Bonacasa is the fight choreographer, with Roach assisting as fight captain. Ivy Lobato and Marie are in charge of props. Jen Howard, Edna Dodge and Sarah Joy head up the extensive hair and make-up design crew.

An exciting aspect of the production is a special weekday student matinee for 400 RSU 71 students in grades 3 through 5. Jason Bannister hopes MAS can continue to offer weekday matinees for large school groups for the 2018 season, which includes “Peter and the Starcatcher” in May and “The Snow Queen” in December. “The Crucible” in October would be offered for middle and high schoolers.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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