Shadowlands: Drama About C.S. Lewis, Author of Chronicles of Narnia
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The last date listed for Shadowlands was Saturday February 5, 2011 / 8:00pm.
In the 1950s, C.S. Lewis, the Oxford professor and creator of Narnia, met American poet Joy Gresham. He was reserved – a content bachelor in his fifties. She was outspoken – a divorcee 17 year his junior. Their friendship developed into an unlikely but deep and abiding love – one which upended Lewis’ convictions about God and His plan for the world and revealed a vital truth: a heart awakened to great love is also a heart made vulnerable.
William Nicholson joined the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) shortly after college and soon found his passion to write. He starting writing novels, weaving tales of lost love, then he ventured into his first works: _Life Story _and _Shadowlands, _which would go on to win him countless awards both for television and stage.
_Shadowlands _was first written as a television movie in 1985, and shortly afterwards was adapted to a stage play. On stage, Shadowlands first captivated audiences at London’s Queen’s Theatre in 1989. With Nigel Hawthorne as C.S. Lewis, it went on to win the Evening Standard Award for best play followed by a Tony Award for Hawthorne and a nomination for Nicholson when it transferred to Broadway in 1990. It also became an Oscar-nominated movie with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
C.S. Lewis, apart from being an accomplished educator at both Oxford and Colombia University, was predominantly known for his _Chronicles of Narnia _series of children’s books. These seven books have been sold in over forty-seven countries selling over one hundred million copies, and play upon the magic of literature, children’s imagination, and numerous traditional Christian themes. His books have been in continuous publication since 1950, and have gone on to numerous forms of art and media including the current top box office film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Dawn Treader. _Shadowlands _ties itself directly to Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew the sixth book written in the Narnia series. The Magician’s Nephew tells the story of the creation of Narnia, the construction of the Wardrobe later used as an entry into the magical world, and a boy’s wish to heal his dying mother.
Marilyn Langbehn returns to Palo Alto Players after her wildly successful production last season of _Rabbit Hole.
_ “I saw the original production in London more than twenty years
ago,” says Langbehn, “and fell in love with it then. I was especially mesmerized by the rich relationship between two people who never expected to find real love once their youths were gone, and were able to celebrate the short time they had together with humor and maturity.”
When asked what she felt was her biggest challenge Langbehn states, “[it is] staying true to the author’s intent while dealing with the expectation that we’re doing a docu-drama of the lives of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham.”
“It is my hope that the audiences will see and recognize some part of themselves and their experience reflected on the stage. Theatre is one of the best ways I know to make sense of our lives; even if the story isn’t directly analogous to our own particular situation, it has the capacity to reveal deeper truths about how we respond to each other and the world around us.”