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‘Your fullest potential’: Falls Lake Academy actors to perform ‘Narnia’ play

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CREEDMOOR — The Falls Lake Academy theater department will be welcoming audiences to the fantasy world of Narnia with its student production of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on Feb. 28-29.

The play follows four children who travel through a wardrobe to a magical land cursed to 100 years of winter by the White Witch, played by Teresa Maxson.

Lucy, played by Alaya Parnell, meets the faun Mr. Tumnus, who is supposed to bring all humans to the White Witch. But Tumnus can’t bring himself to give up Lucy, and he ends up captured.

Lucy returns home and tells her siblings Edmond, Peter and Susan (played by Tanner Moore, Blade Bolton and Emma Oliver, respectively) about her adventure. They don’t believe her, but follow her through the wardrobe to Narnia.

The story continues, but the actors and production hope you will come to see their adaptation of the story.

Conveying feelings

Rebecca Hodges, veteran stage manager, handles all of the light design and the sound and light cues for the show. During the production she will be in the light and sound booth directing the operation.

Hodges said there are not a lot of props, but the lighting will be important to convey different feelings throughout the show.

Hodges said she always wanted to be involved in the productions and was drawn to what goes on behind the scenes. With 33 actors involved in this production, Hodges has her hands full making sure everything stays organized and people are where they need to be when they need to be there.

Hodges has nothing but praise for “Mr. C”, Dan Cerullo, the theatre arts teacher at Falls Lake Academy.

“We started out with a production that few people knew and we are not doing a production that everyone knows,” Hodges said. “He has helped us grow this program and he continues to guide us to do better each time.”

Acting at a young age

Maxon is stepping out of her comfort zone, playing the White Witch in this production.

“I have always played comedic roles in productions and this is my first dramatic role,” Maxon said. “My character has such a range, from being nice one moment to being evil and tricking people in the next moment.”

She credits Falls Lake’s theatre program for helping her blossom as an actress.

“This started out as a hobby for me, but I love acting so much now,” Maxson said.

Haddow said her love for acting started at a young age, too.

“My grandmother sent me to camps during the summer and we would perform a show at the end of the week,” Haddow said. “I just loved doing that so much. … I saw that Falls Lake was offering a theatre class and was excited to take the class. Our theatre club is the one in the production and I just love it.”

Haddow has multiple jobs within this production. She also portrays Mrs. Beaver, who helps the children during their journey in Narnia. Haddow is preparing the music for the production and will also be responsible for makeup.

“Having multiple jobs can get a little overwhelming at times, but these are all things I am passionate about, so it makes it a little easier,” Haddow said. “As long as I have a schedule of when things need to be done, it helps make sure everything is on track.”

Taking the role seriously

Oliver, a junior, has been in multiple shows for Falls Lake Academy. Her role as Susan in this play requires her to have an British accent.

“Having the accent has been quite difficult,” Oliver said. “I have used the internet to look up how to do the British accent and the more you do the accent the easier it is to keep the accent.”

Oliver said in the last production she had a French accent, which was also difficult.

Starring in the play means learning a lot of lines.

“We have been doing this so long that remembering lines just comes natural,” Oliver said. “You look at the lines and then you understand the context of the play as you are blocking out each and every scene. You take grasp of each and every line and how you deliver the line.”

Oliver said this was the first dramatic play she had to learn to incorporate realism in her character.

“I have to actually act like a person and not make the lines cheesy; that has been the most difficult part of this production,” she said. “Last year, we put on a production of “Clue” and that received a lot of recognition. We are hoping to get the same recognition for this production and spread awareness of the arts at our school,” Oliver said. “Mr. Cerullo has a way of pushing you to your fullest potential. He has faith in all of us and we can accomplish what character he has casted us as.”