Stories were such a big part of my childhood. Before I could read on my own, my mother and I had what I call bedtime storybook theater. She told me stories, but she didn’t just read from any old book. She acted out every character, using different voices and facial expressions. Sometimes she made up stories about Super Daddy, Super Mommy or Super Genine. Sometimes I made up the stories, which usually involved saving someone from a vague creature.
When I could read on my own, my mom and her friends made sure I had plenty of books to occupy me. I had so many books when I was growing up: Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, fairy tales. One of my favorites was The Chronicles of Narnia. I loved Aslan and Lucy, and I imagined every door led to another world. Every orange cat I saw, I secretly called Aslan. I wanted to meet a fawn and try Turkish delight.
My mother loved the books as well, and I’m pretty sure my brother read them too. So we were all incredibly ecstatic when a Philippine theater company called TRUMPETS staged a musical adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Of course we had to go and watch, and we bought the CD of the music, and we got the program. For years afterwards we would listen to the music over and over.
Eventually we heard about a movie adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It was scheduled for release in 2005. I think that was the year we met the Narnians. It was a fan group called The Philippine Order of Narnians, and my whole family trooped over to a coffee shop in Makati–all the way from our house in Antipolo!–just to meet them. We were so happy to meet other fans, and to have other people to talk to about the books we loved so much.
We planned a big event in anticipation of the movie release. We had storytelling sessions, and a Q&A with the cast of the TRUMPETS musical too! The Narnians were in costume, and we all geeked out, and it was so much fun. We organized a block screening of the movie too!
Over the years, the kids grew up, people got busy, and I fell out of touch with them. But we still saw each other once in a while. I remember watching The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with some of the Narnians. And we kept in touch online.
Last month I found out that TRUMPETS was at it again, with a stage adaptation of The Horse and His Boy opening on November 6! It was just in time for my birthday. Though The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favorite, The Horse and His Boy is special to me because of one particular part. When Shasta meets the Hermit, he is tired and weary, and all he wants to do is rest. Instead, he is sent on another mission. The passage goes,
“Shasta’s heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one. But all he said out loud was: ‘Where is the King?'”
I was so very excited to see the show. I was trying to figure out when to buy tickets, when I got message from one of the Narnians, Francis. He had apparently kept in touch with TRUMPETS, and they were giving him tickets to opening night if he could get the Narnians to go in costume. Of course I said YES!
I was supposed to wear my green Susan dress, but I couldn’t find it. So I had to come up with a quick costume. I decided on Susan’s school uniform, from the start of Prince Caspian. After an evening spent rummaging around the closets at home, I had an instant costume, hurray!
Oneal wore chain mail we had made for my brother in 2005. Our friends went to opening night in such lovely Narnian garb, and I was so happy. Even better, we got to meet Douglas Gresham! And I got to write about the show for GMA News Online.
So yeah, it was definitely an #EpicRide!