I had the extreme pleasure of watching the performance of Max McLean in The Screwtape Letters. At first I thought, how dull can this be?! Some guy reading letters. It could be awful. But as I thought more about it, I realized it could be pretty well done too. And I’m really happy to announce that it was!
First of all, if you have no idea what The Screwtape Letters is, let me ‘splain/ sum up. It’s a book written by CS Lewis under the premise of a “senior” demon writing letters to his nephew junior demon on how to trip up a human being in their life. It is, as the actor McLean said during his Q&A with the audience after the performance, the ultimate study in reverse psychology. And McLean did his homework in developing this adaptation for the stage. He spoke at length about CS Lewis’ life and comments Lewis had made about the inspiration for the book, drawing on his own life experience and the, at times, painful realizations about choices he made over his lifetime and how far away from God and Truth he fell. Um, yea, I can’t relate to that at all.
The set design was fantastic and imaginative. What *would* an office in hell look like? And the devices they use for communicating the story were so creative. Between the addition of a method of getting letters back and forth (see the ladder and “mailbox” in the photos on the website) and the development of the Toadpipe character, this is probably one of the greatest adaptations I have ever seen. It’s as good as the one-man show of A Christmas Carol by Patrick Stewart. Of course this subject matter is far more challenging, so on second thought, maybe it’s actually better.
Anyway, if you do get a chance to see it, do. And of course, read the book.
Also, if you are interested in the discussion of Christians in the arts and theatre, check out the Fellowship for the Performing Arts in NYC. http://www.screwtapeonstage.com/aboutus it’s a fantastic and very needed organization committed to bringing outstanding and provocative performances… Mission Statement: To produce theatre from a Christian worldview that engages a diverse audience!!