Saturday, June 14, 2008

How Pretty It Is

Boom! Pfizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Whiz! are the sounds of streamers exploding around me in the dark. I sit with 10 others in a diminutive theater as a man playing an organ, as if in an old western, slowly descends into the floor of the stage in front of us. The music, the soundtrack to a full length feature drama, swells and lights flicker in the displays on either side of the stage, highlighting the faces of plaster cast replicas of characters from Narnia. The organ player drops completely out of sight, and the heavy velvet curtain is quickly pulled upward as previously obscured stage props, in the form of a thick forest overgrown with moss, appear.

The stage ignites and theatrics ensue with the appearance of a man in knightly costume who mysteriously appears, leaps onto a stone wall and draws his sword. He rushes around the scene, he is alone and in search of something. Suddenly, the denouement erupts in a dramatic fury of his arm as he brings his drawn sword upward and points at a floating stone that says 'NARNIA.' The lights dim and the feature presentation begins.

This is the opening scene for the movie The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian at El Capitan Theatre. The place is a merry go round of Disney infused aspiration. Props displayed everywhere, walls covered with fake brick walls, synthetic moss leaking out of cracks, large signs with chalk-written directions pointing the way, and a low ceiling to consummate the cozy atmosphere; all with the intent to take you to an imaginary place once you've stepped inside. I can see why El Capitan draws the under 10 crowd. At first, I thought my hubby and I had bought tickets for a play, instead of the feature length film.

El Capitan is across from Grauman's Chinese Theater, a perfect pit stop for entertaining tiny adults and their older counterparts in need of a rest. The theater only showcases one feature at a time, with accessories to match and smiling staff to point the way to your velvet covered seat. Their particular presentation effectuates a riveting cinematic adventure by providing its viewer with a sensory experience and hopefully, a story to tell your friends.

When I leave at 2 o'clock in the morning with the other theater patrons, I am greeted with a waving white-gloved hand and a cheerful 'goodbye.' Steadfast to the end, the staff acts out an exquisite bravura conclusion to the nights performance.

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