Narnia preparations roar to life

IT was a real life Narnia experience for the cast of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe late last month when they got up close and personal with ZooDoo’s resident lion Kiara.

The zoo visit acted as preparation for the Hobart Repertory Theatre Society’s production of C.S.Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series.

Written by Josef Robinette and directed by Ben Armitage, the play opened at the Playhouse Theatre on 6 April.

“We have some amazing youngsters in the cast who are really enjoying being part of this family show,” Mr Armitage said.

“The cast is made up of 20 Hobart actors, some well known to local audiences while others are up and coming.

“There were more than 100 people auditioning for a role and we are really lucky to be able to have such a quality cast.”

A highlight of the show will be the puppet created for the role of Aslan the Lion.

“As we wanted the lion to be fierce, but compassionate, as well as looking imposing in the theatre, we settled on the idea of a mane made of multi-coloured layered dreadlocks and the results were stunning,” Mr Armitage said.

“It took local puppet-maker Roz Wren more than 75-hours to make and consisted of painstakingly layering foam over a metal base and then adding hand rolled dreadlocks and quill whiskers.

“The mouth was built using a steel spring structure with overlying paper teeth and can be operated using a handle within the mane to allow Aslan to talk and roar in the most realistic way as possible.

“Aslan brings C.S. Lewis’ work to the stage in a way that invokes emotion beyond what you think his foam and wool layers would make possible.”

The season for The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe will run until 28 April in the Playhouse Theatre.

Tickets are available at Centertainment.

Caption: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe cast member Carys Howatson meets ZooDoo’s resident lion Kiara in preparation for the production opening.