Above, from left: Kvale and Erik Johnson. (Submitted photo)
Above, from left: Kvale and Erik Johnson. (Submitted photo)
Imagine 20 armed characters, each with a sword, a dagger, bow and arrows, a magic wand, or just sharp teeth and claws, fighting on a small stage.

Actors with New Minowa Players’ January production are working to recreate the epic battle between good and evil for the future of Narnia. Beavers, wood nymphs, centaurs, wolves, elves, humans, a unicorn, a faun, a stag, a witch and even a lion take the stage to share the timeless story of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

Large fight scenes can be one of the most difficult pieces when putting together a successful theatrical production such as “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.” In New Minowa Players’ January family show, most of the 20-member cast is involved. The battle scene is choreographed much like a dance, according to fight choreographer Aaron Kvale.

“For the integrity of the scene, every movement has to be planned. If even one person deviates from the plan and ends up in a different place than was scripted, it can throw the whole thing off,” Kvale said.

Every part of the stage is used to create a full battlefield, and fighting continues even offstage. Safety is a big concern on a small stage filled with about 20 people.

“Any misstep can cause bodily injury,” Kvale said. “Everything has to happen in sequence. If actors can’t see what’s happening, they might miss a cue. It’s like dancing against each other – each actor’s actions are meant to collide, so it takes a lot of general special awareness.”

Choreographed precisely, all of the actors have a responsibility to be where they’re supposed to be, each second. They work with their combat partner or partners to make the fighting believable, yet ensure the safety of each person on the stage.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is an adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s classic tale of love, courage, faith, and giving. Set during the dark days of World War II in Britain, the four Pevensie children are sent to live with their eccentric uncle in the country. Inside the rambling house, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy find a massive wardrobe, and, climbing inside, discover the wondrous land of Narnia.

Once in Narnia, the children become involved in the life and death struggle for control of Narnia between an evil witch, the good Aslan, and their followers. The eventual triumph of good over evil has enthralled audiences of all ages since the book’s original publication in 1950.

“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” will be performed at the New Minowa Players Theatre (906 South Mill Street in Decorah) Thursday, Jan. 18, Friday, Jan. 19 and Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 27, at both 2 and 7 p.m.

Sponsors for the show are Decorah Bank & Trust, Family Table Restaurant, Gallery of Tops, Modish, Pizza Ranch, RocketDog Books, Rockweiler Appliance & TV and Singing Hammers Construction.