The Screwtape Letters, the provocative and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view, will play the Christmas season at Park Theatre from 8 December 2016 – 7 January 2017, with a press night on 9 December.
In the European premiere of the smash New York hit, The Screwtape Letters creates a morally inverted universe that reveals unseen spiritual powers and principalities at work in humorous, vivid and surprising ways.
Set in an eerily stylish office in hell, where God is called the “Enemy” and the devil is referred to as “Our Father Below”, the play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape – Satan’s top psychiatrist due to his profound understanding of human nature – and his slavish creature-demon Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon, Wormwood, on how to ruin the life and damn the soul of an unsuspecting human on earth.
Max McLean returns to the role of Screwtape, which he originated and performed to sold-out audiences in New York City and across the U.S. Karen Eleanor Wight, who played alongside McLean in the original New York production, will reunite with him in London as Toadpipe.
“Fellowship for Performing Arts is excited to bring C.S. Lewis’ classic novel ‘home’ in this stage adaptation,” said Max McLean, FPA founder and artistic director. “With Lewis’ wit and insight, The Screwtape Letters has been delighting and challenging readers ever since its publication in early 1942. It’s an honor to bring Screwtape to life on stage in London as it approaches its 75th anniversary.”
Karen Eleanor Wight is a NYC-based actress, improviser and movement coach. Favorite regional roles include: Olivia (Twelfth Night), Celia (As You Like It), Katherine (Henry V), Bianca (Othello), Gladys (The Pajama Game), Weird Sister/Lady Macbeth (Macbeth). National tour: Tiger Lily/Liza, u/s Peter Pan & Wendy (Peter Pan). Karen is one-half of the wordless improv duo Imp, performing long-form improv around the U.S.
Along with The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters remains one of Lewis’ most popular and influential works. When first published in 1942 it brought worldwide fame to this little-known Oxford don including the cover of Time Magazine.
The idea for Screwtape came to Lewis after listening to Hitler’s Reichstag Speech on July 19, 1940, while it was simultaneously translated on BBC Radio. Lewis wrote, “I don’t know if I’m weaker than other people, but it is a positive revelation to me how while the speech lasts it is impossible not to waver just a little. . . . Statements which I know to be untrue all but convince me . . . if only the man says them unflinchingly.”