This past week BYU-Idaho was fortunate to have a one-man show, An Evening with C.S. Lewis, come to campus. The show ran for two nights, and both nights were sold out.
When a person walked into the theater at the beginning of the show, all they could see was a stage with furniture set like an office. This is where David Payne (the actor that played C.S. Lewis) would spend the rest of the night speaking to the audience.
In the pamphlet that was handed out to everyone attending, it said, “An Evening with C.S. Lewis takes you into the unique world of a man who lived a simple life in a modest house on the outskirts of the city of Oxford, England.”
Topics of the show included topics from C.S. Lewis’ relationship with his wife, T.S. Eliot and J.R.R. Tolkien. It was set in his home as if he were speaking to many American authors that had come to meet him and seek advice.
“I thought that the show was a good look into his life and a way to get to know him as a person,” said Don Sparhawk, coordinator for Center Stage and Performing Tours. “Possibly we could consider bringing him back with that show that he does with J.R.R. Tolkien.”
Sparhawk said he hoped students would understand from the show that C.S. Lewis had struggles in his life just like anyone else.
During the intermission of the show, David Payne decided to break character to talk about something with the audience. He and his wife had decided to sponsor a child. He wanted to show the audience a picture of one of the children they are sponsoring and urged the audience to be Christlike, charitable and consider sponsoring a child themselves.
“I always admired Lewis and always had a lot of respect for him,” said John Gunnerson, a junior majoring in theatre studies. “I don’t think in my life in theater I have ever seen a one–man show. I had preconceived notions about what the show would be about the things he had written but it was a wonderful reminder to be reminded about the things that are most important. What was most important to him wasn’t his life work, but it was his wife and that is what he chose to spend his time talking about.”
Kendria Price, a junior majoring in theatre studies, said the show helped her learn more about his life and loved the parts of the show where Lewis would talk about the personality of his wife.
At the end of the show, David Payne said that he was looking forward to doing the show and that next year their show, Wardrobes and Rings, will be touring and that it is a “play about what friendship really means.”