An Introduction to An Evening with C.S. Lewis
March 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
An Evening with C.S. Lewis, featuring British Actor David Payne, is a drama production that has proved to be an enthralling theatrical experience for the many thousands who have attended its performances. Written and directed by Payne and infused with the humor that Lewis was renowned for, it is a fascinating and absorbing insight into the life of a man who became a legend in his own lifetime.
An Evening with C.S. Lewis
The year is 1963 and C.S. Lewis, the famous British author, is in the twilight years of his life and has agreed to give an informal talk to a group of American writers who are visiting England. They have come to Lewis’ home, just outside of Oxford, and are eagerly anticipating hearing the man whose celebrity once landed him on the front cover of Time magazine. Lewis is in great form and his audience is spellbound as, with a display of oratory and humor that made him one of England’s most famous public speakers, he recounts the significant events and the people that shaped his life.
David Payne was born in London and began his business life as a Structural Engineer. In the early nineties he and his wife moved to Nashville, TN but just prior to their Nashville move they attended the West End play Shadowlands. So when he came across an audition notice for a Nashville production of Shadowlands his curiosity was aroused, and all the more so when it stated “British accents a help!” Armed with his British accent he went along hoping to land a small part. He landed the lead role! When Shadowlands opened its sold-out run at Nashville’s prestigious Tennessee Performing Arts Center who should be on the front row but Lewis’ stepson, Douglas Gresham. Since that time Payne and Gresham have become firm friends. The reviews of Payne’s performance were so positive he decided to turn his attention to developing a one-man show featuring the author he first met in his teens when he was given a copy of Screwtape Letters. Thus was born An Evening with C.S. Lewis which has now logged up over 500 performances worldwide. Apart from Shadowlands and An Evening with C.S. Lewis, Payne has performed Lewis in two other self-penned plays; Weep for Joy, a drama that further explores the relationship between Lewis and his American wife Joy and St Jack & The Dragon a play that explores the relationship between Lewis and his adopted mother. A television special of An Evening with C.S. Lewis is scheduled for taping in May 2015 and an Off-Broadway run is scheduled for Spring 2016.
Though C.S. Lewis has been dead for over 50 years, almost all his books remain in print and most are still best sellers. He was a close friend of J.R.R. Tolkien, and both authors – arguably two of the most successful of the 20th century – wrote all their books in their ‘spare time.’ Though Lewis’ writings spanned a broad range of subjects he is probably best known for his classic children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. First launched in 1950 with publication of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, all seven books remain among today’s most successful children’s books and three have been turned into blockbuster movies. Recognized as one of the great intellects of his day, Lewis always retained a great capacity for simplicity and humor and though he achieved both fame and fortune in his lifetime he remained quite indifferent to both. Indeed, he gave most of his fortune away. An Evening with C.S. Lewis takes you into the unique world of a man who lived a simple life in a modest house on the outskirts of the city of Oxford.