'The Screwtape Letters' Returns to New York City for Encore Performances

By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter
November 16, 2012|2:30 pm
  • Screwtape letters
    (Photo: Fellowship for the Performing Arts)
    Max McLean as senior devil Screwtape and Karen Eleanor Wight as Toadpipe in the play adapted from C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.

The satirical, successful play "The Screwtape Letters", an adaptation of the 1942 C.S. Lewis novel by the same title, is returning to New York City this week for another round of performances.

The play, which was adapted by actor Max McLean and playwright Jeffrey Fiske, has received overall warm reviews from critics since it first began performances in 2006.

"The Devil is given his due in a humorous and lively stage version of C. S. Lewis's examination of Christianity from the viewpoint of the other side," The New York Times said of the play.

"Although the show is a sermon at heart, Max McLean, who adapted the material with Jeffrey Fiske, gives such an energetic performance as Satan's right-hand man that the satire comes through."

The Theater Jones review, based in Texas, said in early November that the play overall communicates a proper satirical message of heaven and hell, but often times trips over clichés and "Bible Belt revelatory chuckles."

"The dialogue that unfolds in the script's lines taken straight from Lewis' pages is insightful and convicting on many levels, but the show occasionally panders to an evangelical crowd adding cliché touches like fast food jokes and outdated pop songs," the review read.

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The adaptation's plot features the grapple of spiritual warfare from the perspective of the devil, Screwtape, portrayed by the play's artistic director and award-winning actor McLean, and his sidekick, a devil-animal named Toadpipe.

Throughout the play, Screwtape sits in his red, ornate leather chair and devises ways to deceive humans into sinning in order to join the devil in hell.

One of the underlying messages of the play is to show viewers that an evil lifestyle can be attained by committing large sins, such as murder or theft, but also through an accumulation of small sins, including pride and self-centeredness.

As McLean previously told The Moody Standard, "The Screwtape Letters" attempts to be as close of an adaptation to the original C.S. Lewis book as possible.

"At least 97 percent of the script stems directly from the book. We've tried to remain very faithful to the morally inverted universe that Lewis has created," said McLean.

The play, which will be showing five performances from Nov. 15-18 at New York City's Fellowship for the Performing Arts theater, has become a repeated performance since its initial 11 sold out performances in 2006.

"The Screwtape Letters", currently being performed in major cities, will extend its nationwide tour into 2013.

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