AN EVENING WITH C.S. LEWIS
Some 30 years following the death of the author CS Lewis, British actor David Payne won the lead role in Shadowlands at the prestigious Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Payne’s interest in Lewis was ignited. He began to study Lewis and his writings in much detail and adapted his first one-man play from the book A Grief Observed, the diary of grief Lewis kept in the first few months following his wife’s death. Titled, Mist in the Mourning, Payne prepared for the play by memorizing the entire book following which he winnowed it down to a suitable length. Such was the power of his performance that he received a glowing commendation from Douglas Gresham, Lewis’ stepson, one of the two stepsons who had shared the experience with Lewis and shared his grief.
Invariably after each performance many of the audience would stay behind to ask questions about Lewis, his life, his writings, his contemporaries and friends, particularly Tolkien. After one such question period it occurred to Payne that it would be really interesting if Lewis was there to answer the questions himself. And thus was born what has become Payne’s most popular play An Evening with CS Lewis.
The play is set in the year 1963 and CS Lewis, the now-famous British author, is in the twilight years of his life. Lewis is in his element as he hosts a group of American writers at his home just outside of Oxford, telling them the stories of his associations, his writing, his family, his faith, and his great love.
Payne captures the essence of the man who created the Narnia Chronicles in an enthralling, laughter-filled and poignant performance...utterly captivating!