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!
We were fortunate to secure David Payne to present a performance of "An Evening With CS Lewis," as a joint venture for the Episcopal churches of the Fort Myers Deanery of the Diocese of Southwest Florida. The evening presentation was a huge success, in fact we filled every seat, and enthusiastic response has been such that we plan to invite Mr. Payne to make a return visit next year. Thank you David, we look forward to welcoming you back to Southwest Florida soon.
The Rev. Dr. David Jackson, AHC - Epiphany Episcopal Church, Ft. Myers, FL
Our church is still buzzing about an evening we spent with CS Lewis. David Payne's portrayal of Lewis was so lifelike that at the end of the show I asked our congregation, 'When did you forget that you weren't really listening to CS Lewis tonight?' What an amazing gift God has given David to bring Lewis alive and let his voice speak anew and afresh to the church in our time. I can't recommend David highly enough to any congregation.
Dr. Jim Davis - First Presbyterian Church, Kingwood, TX
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 - CrossPoint Community Church (formerly 1st Bapt), Modesto, CA
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 Christian 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
"An Evening with CS Lewis" is an engrossing evening. Within moments, one is drawn into an intimate conversation with the author. The audience was enthralled! Randy Eckley, Wayland Baptist University, Tucson, AZ
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