Image obtained from "Cardboard Antlers" via Flickr Creative Commons. Original image by Pauline Baynes.

The magic of Lewis comes to the stage

Theater company kicks off C.S. Lewis commemorative season with The Magician’s Nephew

OTTAWA, ON—In honour of the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death, the 9th Hour Theatre Company is performing an adaptation of The Magician’s Nephew. The play, which is geared for children and families runs in Ottawa from March 12 to 16.

“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to bring to life my favourite book in the Narnia series,” says the show’s costume, hair and makeup designer, Mishelle Stott. “I think it’s important for this story to be told because often people skip right over The Magician’s Nephew, which actually lays the foundation for the more widely known The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Although The Magician’s Nephew is chronologically the first of the seven Narnia stories, C.S. Lewis actually wrote it sixth.

“The story is about the creation of Narnia through the eyes of children,” explains producing artistic director Jonathan Harris. “First they explore a dying world named Charn. Then they go to a newly created world, Narnia.”

Harris plans to include a number of events for kids following the matinee performances. Events will include opportunities to meet the cast, take pictures with the characters and an “interactive, kid friendly discussion” about the story’s themes of creation, temptation and good and evil.

“I have always wanted to do C.S. Lewis stories on stage because I find them super imaginative, but they also really fit our mandate to explore themes of faith through performing arts,” says Harris. “The way we do it is not necessarily to teach. We are all about presenting a story and letting the beauty of that story be the persuasion. The show itself is about creation, so we are trying to be as creative as possible, using our actors to the fullest potential.”

9th Hour is currently running a whole season of C.S. Lewis plays including The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce (for which 9th Hour is writing their own, original adaptation) and Narnia—a musical based on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

“[Lewis’] works deserve to be done theatrically,” Harris says. “I fell in love with The Magician’s Nephew. Of all the Narnia stories, it’s not one that people are particularly familiar with, which makes it exciting to perform.”

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About the author

Senior Correspondent

Craig Macartney lives in Ottawa, Ontario, where he follows global politics and dreams of life in the mission field.