Theatre: One Man Show
An Evening with CS 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!
On a scale of 1-10, it was a 10!!! I expected a good show and the performance exceeded my expectations! S.H., Gallo Center for the Arts, Modesto, CA
David Payne was not only easy to work on a professional level, but he provided the audience with an intimate experience like none other. The show was moving, and definitely a must see. Tess Todora, Municipal Auditorium, Greenville, TX
The place was filled to the brim. The performance was fantastic - I felt like I was listening to Lewis himself. C.B., Gallo Center for the Arts, Modesto, CA
It was a great show!! The audience loved it! Sheila Thornburg, The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, Ocean Springs, MS
I was fortunate enough to have read every Lewis Biography and studied Lewis, even got to go inside his home in his Oxford village, etc. (David) got it all right and blended humor and drama, theology and biography, childhood and adulthood perfectly. Lin Sexton, Gallo Center for the Arts, Modesto, CA
David Payne's live one-man show brings CS Lewis to life in a way that no other medium can. It's like having Professor Lewis there in the same room with you. The show provides a delightful and moving answer to the question of what it might have been like to meet CS Lewis. David not only entertains and does that well, but he also inspires. Dr. Devin Brown, Director of The CS Study Center, Asbury University
David Payne is amazing in his portrayal of CS Lewis! Our 800+ audience was completely engrossed in his performance and captivated by David's ability to capture the essence of one the greatest authors of the 20th century. You'll believe you’re in the room with CS Lewis himself! A delightful evening that any Englishman or American would thoroughly enjoy! Salem Radio, Colorado Springs, CO
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