Student-actors have been hard at work on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this year’s spring play, since the beginning of the trimester. Over the next couple of weeks, they will stay late after school and come in on weekends in preparation for the first show on May 15. However, they aren’t the only ones working hard in order to make sure everything will be ready for opening night. A combination of students and teachers have been creating the costume for one of the most important characters of the Narnia series: Aslan, the lion.
The end result will probably not be like any puppet you have ever seen before. Gerald Elliot, 9th grade history teacher and robotics coach, compares it to a “Chinese New Year Dragon.” He describes it as about “9 feet long by about 6 feet high.” Three students, Rania Venters York 15’, Juliette Levy 15’, and Alex Mihalski 17’, will be required in order for it to operate correctly. Two will be wearing backpacks supporting the frame and moving the legs, while a third will be moving the head and opening the jaw.
A lot of time and energy have been expended working on Aslan, and many people were involved. Gerald says that he was asked to work on the mechanics because of his robotics experience, but Lily Hotchkiss and Christine Tschirgi deserve the “lion’s share” of the credit.
Lily, from the Visual Arts program, has worked on the aesthetics of the puppet while and Christine Tschirgi, the costume director, has been sort of a jack of all trades. Meanwhile, Michael Cimino, director of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, has given valuable input because “it’s his whole operation.”
Also involved in the building is Alex Mihalski, who plays Aslan’s back legs and comes in during some of her free time to help out. According to Alex, they have been working since about a week after the actors began to rehearse.
While a lot of work has been put in, there is still some to do. The frame has just recently been ready for rehearsals, and some parts have yet to be added. Still, watching the frame walk around the stage was quite awe-inspiring.
No doubt seeing the finished product will be much more so. If you are interested in seeing Aslan in action, come to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Thursday, May to Saturday, May 17, and see for yourself the hard work so many have put in.