THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, the entertaining hit theatre production will be presented by Fellowship for the Performing Arts at The Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, CA, on October 2nd and 3rd. The play has enjoyed sold-out runs in Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C. and now makes its way to the San Francisco Bay Area.
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is a funny, provocative and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ brilliant novel that explores the theme of spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view.
Adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Fiske and Max McLean, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS, which runs 90 minutes without intermission, is set in an office in hell. The engaging play follows a senior devil, Screwtape, played by Max McLean, and his secretary, Toadpipe, played by Karen Eleanor Wight,as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to “undermine faith and prevent the formation of virtues” in a young man who has just converted to Christianity. As Screwtape ridicules Wormwood and devilishly dictates his letters to Toadpipe, the fantastical creature transforms into laughingly recognizable figures with whimsical movement and wordless wit.
Critics have raved that the show is “Very smart…richly rewarding…exuberant theatricality!,” (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune), “THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is just about everything you want in a night at the theatre…,” (Daniel Kelly, NYTheatre.com), “A first rate production…Terribly entertaining… Screwtape boils over with wit” (Jayne Blanchard, The Washington Times), a “Hell of a good time…imaginative theatricality…wonderful performances” (Frank Scheck, New York Post), “Sly, funny, handsomely produced” (Celia Wren, Washington Post) and “Pure genius… an outstanding piece of work,” (John J. Miller, National Review)
When first published in 1942. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS brought immediate fame to C.S. Lewis, a little known Oxford don whose field of study was Medieval English and literature. Over the past sixty-five years its wit and wisdom have made it one of his most widely read and influential works. One of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day, C.S. Lewis was a Fellow and Tutor of English literature at Oxford University until 1954 when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.
His major contributions in literary criticism, children’s literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract millions of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include: The Chronicles of Narnia, Out of the Silent Planet, and Mere Christianity.
The initial production of THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS opened at Theatre 315 in New York City in January 2006 for a limited three-week run. Due to popular demand it ran for ten sold-out weeks. After building on its success it reopened in the fall of 2007 at the larger Theatre at St. Clement’s for another twelve sold-out weeks to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. In April 2008 it transferred to The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C. for a five week run. Again it played for sold out and standing room-only audiences. In October 2008, it transferred again to the Mercury Theater in Chicago for a scheduled six week run that grew to six months. The Chicago Tribune called it “the most successful show in the history of the Mercury Theater.”
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is directed by Jeffrey Fiske and stars Max McLean as Screwtape and Karen Eleanor Wight as Toadpipe. Scenic design is by Cameron Anderson, costumes are by Michael Bevins, lighting by Jesse Klug, and sound is by Bart Fasbender. For more biographical or production information, visit www.ScrewtapeOnStage.com.
The schedule for THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is Friday, October 2 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, October 3 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $29.00 to $45.00. Tickets are available by calling The Lesher Center for the Arts Box Office at 925.943.SHOW or online at www.lesherartscenter.org.