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.
A hit in New York City, it played 309 performances at the Westside Theatre in 2010. Prior to that, Screwtape ran six months in Chicago, and The Chicago Tribune called it the "most successful show in the history of Chicago's Mercury Theatre." It also played two engagements at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., where it ran for 10 sold-out weeks.
THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS toured nationally for more than four years, playing in leading theatrical venues and performing arts centers and drawing more than 400,000 theatregoers.
The play, set in a eerily stylish office in hell, follows the clever scheming of one of Satan's Senior Tempters, Screwtape. He advises his nephew, a junior tempter, on enticing 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 lures his unsuspecting 'patient' down the “soft, gentle path to Hell.” At his feet is Screwtape's able assistant, Toadpipe, (played by Marissa Molnar & Karen Wight) 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."
Along with The Chronicles of Narnia, The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is still one of Lewis’ most popular and influential works. The book'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. When first published in 1942 it brought immediate fame to this little-known Oxford don including the cover of Time Magazine.
Lewis dedicated the work to his close friend J. R. R. Tolkien who had expressed to Lewis that delving too deeply into the craft of evil would have consequences. Lewis admitted as much when he wrote: “Though I had never written anything more easily, I never wrote with less enjoyment . . . though it was easy to twist one’s mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The work into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness and geniality had to be excluded.”
Adapted and directed by Jeff Fiske & Max McLean, scenic design is by Cameron Anderson, costumes are by Michael Bevins, lighting by Jesse Klug and sound is by John Gromada.