Between writing works of allegorical fiction and sharing a pint with chum J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis found plenty of time to be frightened of the dentist. "What do people mean when they say, 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good'? Have they never even been to a dentist?" he ponders in A Grief Observed. Despite his reluctance to explore the dark space between the mandible and the maxilla, he was never hesitant to venture into the gaping maw of other worlds. The Great Divorce poses a Lewisian version of heaven and hell, while the Space Trilogy transports the reader to Mars and Venus.
Lewis' most famous world, by far, is the imaginary land of Narnia, which many fantasy lovers have discovered through the "first" chronicle in the Narnia series, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Of course, some scholars (and maybe even Lewis himself) would argue that the first book should not be the popular The Lion, but the sixth chronicle, The Magician's Nephew. Though originally published as the penultimate book in the series, The Magician's Nephew is, in fact, a prequel to the Pevensies' journey through the "bright city of War Drobe" into Narnia as depicted in The Lion. The Magician's Nephew relates the story of the creation of Narnia by Aslan (the aforementioned lion, if you're not hip to the Narnian groove) and the accidental introduction of evil into this newborn world by a young boy named Digory Kirke.
Dallas Children's Theater offers its interpretation of this Lewis classic as adapted for the stage by Aurand Harris and directed by Artie Olaisen, who also directed last year's DCT production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We won't offer any spoilers, but we do promise that this revealing production of The Magician's Nephew is bound to elicit an "Aha!" or two from audience members who are familiar with only the first book. And, yes, there are Christian allusions. But there's also a bewitched bell, an evil uncle, the Wood Between the Worlds and, let us not forget, a lion, a witch and the definite mention of a wardrobe.
Dallas Children's Theater's production of The Magician's Nephew runs March 18 through April 17 at Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman St. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for children. Call 214-740-0051.
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