Curtain Call: An Evening with C.S. Lewis
What: An Evening with C.S. Lewis / Prisoner of Passion (live theater)
The death of C.S. Lewis in 1963 at age sixty-five left a void in the world of literature, philosophy, and Christian Apologism. By the time of his death, Lewis had authored respected Christian literary works like Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, and Surprised by Joy. In 1950 he extended his Christian devotion into the allegorical The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first in his Chronicles of Narnia children's book series.
An Evening With C.S. Lewis will bring a portrayal Saturday, November 6 at 6:30 p.m. to the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.
This one-man show, in the tradition of Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain Tonight!, is the creation of British actor David Payne, whose theater company, David Payne Drama, was created to showcase the life and writings of C.S. Lewis.
In a seventy-nine-minute performance written and performed by Payne, the production opens in late summer 1963 with Lewis in failing health. He has invited a group of American writers visiting England to an intimate tea at his home in Oxford. As Lewis serves tea and conversation, the legend becomes a real man whose conversion from atheism to Christianity made him one of the most famous converts of the twentieth century-- but a man whose faith did not excuse him from the struggles or sorrows of life, including the death of his wife, Joy Gresham, who he married in his mid-fifties after a lifetime of bachelorhood. Lewis portrays to the writers, and to the audience, the story of a man whose faith did not get him around sorrow, but rather, through it.
Payne has portrayed Lewis since 1996, when he auditioned for a stage production of the biographical play Shadowlands. After winning the lead role of Lewis, Payne won the praise of Douglas Gresham, C.S. Lewis's stepson, who attended the opening night of Shadowlands. Payne went on with his wife, Marilyn, to cofound David Payne Drama. The Paynes currently have written four productions that are on tour or in rehearsal, including An Evening with C.S. Lewis and a new stage adaptation of Lewis's first classic Narnia novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In December, the company will premiere the touring holiday production Christmas with C.S. Lewis, while 2011 will see the premiere of a new adaptation of Shadowlands, as well as Weep for Joy, another original stage production chronicling the courtship and marriage of Lewis and his wife.
Payne will also present Prisoner of Passion, another one-man performance in which he stars. Written by Payne, with dialog taken almost entirely from the New Testament, Prisoner of Passion chronicles the late life of the apostle Paul. Set in Rome right before Paul's martyrdom, in Prisoner of Passion the apostle is befriended by a new servant girl. In the process of teaching the young girl, a recent Christian convert, about her faith, Paul recounts many things he has written, reflects upon his mistakes, and hopes for his future.
Tickets are $8 and $6, and are available by calling the Marion Cultural and Civic Center box office at (618) 997-4030, or by logging on to <http://www.MarionCCC.org>. For more about David Payne Drama's productions, visit <http://www.DavidPayneDrama.com>.
who: David Payne Drama
what: An Evening with C.S. Lewis / Prisoner of Passion (live theater)
where: Marion Cultural and Civic Center
when: Saturday, November 6