In five months, Walt Disney Pictures plans to release a $100 million special-effects-laden version of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," C.S. Lewis's classic story about four children who are magically transported to Narnia, a parallel world full of talking animals and high adventure.
For those who can't wait to look through Professor Digory Kirke's wardrobe and into the snow-covered lands of the White Witch, the Kaleidoscope Theatre Company will present a 45-minute production of Le Clanche du Rand's stage version Saturday at the Woodrow Wilson Library.
Sure, the folks at the small Alexandria-based children's theater are working on a smaller budget (two actors perform all of the roles) than the Disney visual-effects wizards. But Narnia has been a living world in the imaginations of young readers for 55 years without a pixel of digital imagery to help render it. With "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" -- the first of Lewis's seven Chronicles of Narnia -- the story is the thing.
In the tale, the four children, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, discover that permanent winter (though never Christmas) has gripped the once-green land of Narnia. The deep freeze is the result of the evil magic of the White Witch, who rules with a cruel hand and turns all who defy her to stone.
The witch is worried by the news of the children's arrival; a prophecy of their coming predicts her own doom, and she sets out to destroy them. The children, meanwhile, are in search of Aslan, a godlike being (the book is at least a partial Christian allegory) in the form of a lion whose arrival in Narnia could lead to the salvation of all.
The Kaleidoscope Children's Theatre is in the midst of a summer tour of Fairfax County library branches. Performances are also scheduled for libraries in McLean, Annandale, Burke, Chantilly, Alexandria and Reston.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN
The Wilson library is at 6101 Knollwood Dr. in the Falls Church area. For more information, including a schedule of performances, visit www.ktheatre.org. The play is recommended for ages 4 and older. For information about the library, call 703-820-8774 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/ww/default.htm.