THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS Comes to Playhouse Square
The Screwtape Letters, the provocative and wickedly funny theatrical adaptation of C.S. Lewis' novel about spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view, returns to Cleveland for two performances only at Playhouse Square on Saturday, October 5, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at playhousesquare.org or by calling 216-241-6000.
Brent Harris returns to the role of Screwtape, which he has performed to sold-out audiences in New York City and across the U.S. The Screwtape Letters continues its 2019 national tour after a hit run in New York. The production has been seen by more than 500,000 people across the country and in London.
The New York Times called The Screwtape Letters, "Clever and Satirical . . . Humorous and Lively." The New Yorker found it a "Fine, Funny, Thoughtful Production." The Associated Press said it is "Devilishly funny!" The Boston Globe called it, "Engrossing and Entertaining!" and The Chicago Tribune said The Screwtape Letters is "Very smart...richly rewarding...with exuberant theatricality!"
The Screwtape Letters creates a topsy-turvy, morally-inverted universe set in an eerily stylish office in hell, where God is the "Enemy" and the devil is "Our Father below." The play follows His Abysmal Sublimity Screwtape, Satan's senior tempter, and his slavish creature-demon Toadpipe, as they train an apprentice demon on how to ruin the life and damn the soul of an unsuspecting human on earth.
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. The book's piercing insight into human nature and the lucid and humorous way Lewis makes his readers squirm in self-recognition made it an immediate success. When first published in 1942, it brought worldwide fame to the Oxford don, including the cover of Time Magazine.
The idea for Screwtape came to Lewis after listening to Adolph 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."
Lewis dedicated the book 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."