One-Man Show Offers Intimate Chat With Author

One-Man Show Offers Intimate Chat With Author

If you could attend a dinner party, or an intimate fireside chat, with anyone from history, who would your list include? If author C.S. Lewis immediately came to mind, you’re in luck — and if he didn’t, perhaps reconsider. Because in “An Evening With C.S. Lewis,” Sunday’s audience will come to know the wit, humor and spirit of an extraordinary intellect.

“If you’re going to portray someone, and [spend] a lot of time doing it, it’s nice that you have someone you really believe in,” says actor David Payne. Payne has performed the one-man show — which he wrote — for thousands of viewers across the globe. But even before that, he portrayed Lewis in a number of productions, including the stage version of “Shadowlands.”

“I have this feeling that one day, I’ll be up in Glory, and I’ll see Lewis coming toward me and he will look at me, and he will say, ‘David, I want to have a word with you,’” Payne muses. “I don’t know what he would think about the play; we have tried to stay close to the truth so that when people leave the play, they feel as though they’ve got the authentic Lewis.”

That authentic Lewis came from reading — the author’s books, of course, but also his biography and his letters. In his research, Payne was trying to know — and wants his audiences to know — the man behind the author. Set in Lewis’ home in 1963, Payne addresses the audience as if they are a group of American writers Lewis is hosting in front of the fire. He shares the experiences of his life — from finding Christianity in his 30s, to the grief of losing his wife to cancer, to his close friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien.

“In a play like this, there’s so many aspects people can embrace,” Payne shares. “I remember getting an email from a lady, and her husband had died like three years ago and she wrote to me after the play and said ‘I’m so glad I came because I have not laughed as much as that since my husband died.’ In the play, he talks about the loss of his wife. And yet for her, it was the release of humor that she felt she could laugh in a way she hadn’t laughed since her husband died. And I find that’s incredible.”


‘An Evening With C.S. Lewis’

WHEN — 4 p.m. Feb. 25

WHERE — Central United Methodist Church, 6 W. Dickson St., Fayetteville

COST — $25-$50; $15/students

INFO — 442-4237,,


Categories: Theater