The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 3, 2014

Fantasy, reality converge in Merely Players' 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'

Fantasy, reality converge in Merely Players' 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'

Sesamae Glackler-Riquelme was prepared for rejection.

The 13-year-old who, in her own words, "has always wanted to act but never wanted to do anything about it," was among dozens who showed up at the Lincoln Community Center in February to audition for parts in the Merely Players Community Theatre's production of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Without any prior acting experience, Glackler-Riquelme said she was surprised to get a call-back for a second audition. Still, she said her mom counseled her that you can't always get what you want, even when you want it really badly.

"But then I ended up getting the part," said Glackler-Riquelme, who plays an integral role in the production — which opens Friday — as one of the four human children that stumble into the magical realm of Narnia through an old wardrobe in an adaptation of C.S. Lewis' 1950 fantasy novel. "I had some confidence issues at the beginning, but I'm beginning to feel more comfortable."

Such is the nature of Merely Players Community Theatre, a proving ground for young talent and theatre hopefuls — even those completely new to the stage.

And Glackler-Riquelme isn't alone. With a cast numbering 35 individuals, most of them for parts that require younger actors, it's perhaps not surprising to see so many new faces. Even the director, Minnesota State University theatre graduate and Waseca native Shelley Whitehead, is making her Merely Players debut

Hans Rupnow is also making his first Merely Players appearance as Edmund, the temperamental but ultimately courageous young boy whose deception — both by the White Witch and his own deception of his siblings — drives the narrative. Arianna Borgmeier is also making her Merely Players debut as the elf, although she's already a seasoned theatre veteran.

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