The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

The Mesa Community College (MCC) Theater Department will be performing “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” from Oct. 11 through 19 at the MCC Theater.

While everyone knows C.S. Lewis’s beloved children’s book, MCC wanted to make their version more recognizable to their audience – the residence of Arizona.

“Our director decided that he wanted to set Narnia in Aztec times and so it’s actually going to have a very different feel than the movies,” said Adriana Diaz, the costume shop manager for the production. “It’s a make believe world but almost always faithful to the Nordic style.”

The costumes and set designs of the production are all based off of Latin and Mezo America. The director of the play choose to run the production this way due to the culture of Arizona.

“It will be very different but it will hopefully be a little bit more attached to our world here in Arizona,” Daiz said.  

Diaz herself is basing all of her designs, specifically the animal costumes she creates for the actors on toys she had as a child. “There were these little toys that I had when I was a little kid that were from South America and were made out of basket-weaving,” she said.

Along with the intricately designed costumes, another MCC student will be making masks for the actors, along with building wigs from scratch and doing the actors make-up.

Ripley Smith, a fourth-year student doing makeup for MCC, is in charge of how the actors look besides their costuming. She began doing hair and makeup for the MCC theater but for the first time, she’s making masks. “I’ve never ever had to make masks before,” Smith said. “I’ve done prosthetics and gore makeup but I’ve never ever made a mask that fits an actors face so it’s been a bit of a learning curve.”

The entire production is run by students, with the help of the occasional staff and MCC alumni.

The set for “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” has been built by an alum of MCC and their theater department. Tyler Skibbner graduated from MCC and Arizona State University before receiving his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Irvine. MCC has a deal with alum once students receive an MFA they have the opportunity to come back and design a show as a professional.

The initial production will be running for five days between the two weeks, but afterwards the cast and the crew will be touring around to local Mesa Public Schools to put on the play for elementary schools.

Kevin Dressler, program director for the MCC Theater Arts, tries to send the students to tour once every two years. “We figure that we’ll have our students for two years,” Dressler said. “So for the students that want to audition and get involved they’ll have that tour experience under their belt, which I think is really valuable.”

Before this production, MCC ran with “Story Theater” that was one of the plays out of 200 that was adjudicated and chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF).

Mesa Public Schools has a creative arts department that works with Dressler to schedule which school would like MCC to visit them. “I think it’s really a credit to Mesa Public Schools that they’re still that engaged in promoting arts education to their young people,” Dressler said.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be performing at the MCC Theater from Oct. 11 – 19. Get more details and buy tickets at https://www.mesacc.edu/arts/event/2019-10/lion-witch-and-wardrobe.

About Author

Sydney Ritter is the former Managing Editor at the Mesa Legend and a communications major at Arizona State University. She has been working for the Legend since 2016 as a reporter before taking over as News Editor and has spent her last two years as the Managing Editor.