‘An Evening with C.S. Lewis’ at EMU

Veteran British actor David Payne will present “An Evening with C.S. Lewis,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU.

The one-man performance takes place in the twilight years of the life of the renowned British author and Christian apologist. With a display of oratory and humor that made him one of England’s most famous public speakers, Payne as C.S. Lewis recounts the significant events and the people that shaped his life, including how he went from atheism to Christianity.

Clive Staples Lewis (1898–1963), born in Belfast, Ireland and known to his friends and family as Jack, is widely-acclaimed for his fiction, especially “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Space Trilogy.” His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.

Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien. Both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings.”

When London-born actor David Payne (www.davidpaynedrama.com) was given a copy of C.S. Lewis’ best-selling book, “Screwtape Letters,” little did he realize that some 40 years later he would gain a reputation for his portrayals of its famous author. He has played Lewis in a number of productions of “Shadowlands,” in his self-penned “Weep for Joy” and in numerous presentations of “An Evening with C.S. Lewis.” Payne is on a U.S. tour that began Sept. 3.

When not performing, Payne is usually shooting a new production or writing. His latest shoot is a live recording of his self-penned stage production, “St. Jack & The Dragon,” a touching yet at times hilarious story about C.S. Lewis and his adopted mother, Mrs. Moore, released in March this year. Also due for release on DVD in March 2010 is his musical, “Target Practice” and “A man called Jack, A woman called Joy,” an on-location version of “An Evening with C.S. Lewis.”

General admission to the program, sponsored by the EMU Community Activities Council (CAC), is $5 at the door.

Story by Jim Bishop. Jim can be reached at bishopj@emu.edu.

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