By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: October 2013
Brent Harris stars as “Screwtape” in The Screwtape Letters. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.ScrewtapeonStage.com. Photo credit: Scott Suchman
“A humorous and lively stage adaptation...The devil has rarely been given his due more perceptively and eruditely…Clever and satirical,” wrote Wilborn Hampton, The New York Times. “Very smart…richly rewarding…exuberant theatricality!” exclaimed Chris Jones in The Chicago Tribune. “Wickedly witty. Lewis’ topsy-turvy exercises in inverted moral theology were made to be played with lip-smacking relish!” wrote Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal.
Lauded by audiences and critics alike, The Screwtape Letters is a play you won’t want to miss. For two shows only, The Screwtape Letters will be coming to Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center on Saturday, October 5, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Call (918) 259-5778 for tickets or stop by the Box Office, 701 S. Main St., Monday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m.
The Screwtape Letters is a smart, provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. It was a hit in New York City, where it played 309 performances at the Westside Theatre in 2010. Prior to that, it ran for six months in Chicago. It also had two engagements at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. where it played for 10 sold-out weeks.
Max McLean, who adapted the novel to the stage and directs the production, says, “The Screwtape Letters is one of the great literary creations of the 20th century, offering an imaginative picture of the spiritual battle that goes on within each of us.”
The play, set in an eerily stylish office in hell, follows the clever scheming of Satan’s chief psychiatrist, Screwtape, as he entices a human ‘patient’ toward damnation. In this topsy-turvy, morally inverted universe, God is the “Enemy” and the Devil is “Our Father Below.” The stakes are high as human souls are hell’s primary source of food.
As His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, award-winning actor Brent Harris creates a “master of the universe” character who mesmerizes the audience as he allures his unsuspecting “patient” down the “soft, gentle path to Hell.” At his feet is Screwtape’s able assistant, Toadpipe (played by Marissa Molnar and Tamala Bakkensen), a grotesque creature demon who transforms her elastic body into the paragons of vices and characters Screwtape requires to keep his patient away from the “Enemy.”
According to McLean, this work is one of the best examples of reverse psychology in all of literature. “The Screwtape Letters follows two story arcs, that of an unsuspecting human on earth – the ‘patient’ – and Screwtape, whose greatest enemy is God. It is a highly entertaining and provocative theatrical event,” says McLean. “But even beyond that, it is an experience that stays with the audience long after the show has ended. It forces people to contemplate their lives and the choices they make each day.”
Along with The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe), The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters is still one of Lewis’ most popular and influential works. The story’s success is due to its piercing insight into human nature and the lucid and humorous way Lewis makes his readers squirm in self recognition.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.ScrewtapeonStage.com.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.