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22871Re: [mythsoc] Screwtape on stage

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  • Mike Foster
    Jan 22, 2012
      Thanks for the enlightening review, David.  If it plays Peoria, we (incl. the Far Westies) are sure to go.
      Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2012 4:17 PM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Screwtape on stage

      Saturday, I attended a performance of a stage adaptation of The Screwtape
      Letters, in San Francisco very briefly on tour. This condensed the book into
      a 90-minute show by selecting key sentences out of the letters and from
      "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", the latter of which was presented as prologue.
      After which, Screwtape retires to his study to dictate his successive
      letters addressed to the unfortunate junior tempter Wormwood. Though the
      moment when Screwtape transforms himself into a centipede is omitted,
      because the adapters couldn't figure out how to present it onstage,
      Screwtape's secretary Toadpipe, who completes that letter for him, is
      present in a form like unto a cross between Peter Jackson's Gollum and the
      Creature from the Black Lagoon, scribbling on paper and sending the letters
      up from hell in an industrial-revolution-style pneumatic tube, gesticulating
      and making various Serkis-like cat-barfing noises in response to Screwtape's
      observations, and miming assorted human characters as Screwtape describes

      Screwtape himself, suave in a smoking jacket, is played by Max McLean (best
      known as an audio narrator of Christian books) in the vocal style of a
      slightly tipsy schoolmaster, more pedagogically crafty than sinisterly
      demonic, but less pedantic than John Cleese's reading of the book, with
      highly inflected mannerisms designed to deliver the oomph behind Lewis's
      satire. His voice was amplified with a body mike, and various amplified
      sound effects punctuate the production, particularly during Screwtape's
      paean to noise and cacophony. For a moment there it was a little too close
      to hell for me.

      The tour is going around the U.S. to various cities, and a list of upcoming
      shows is at www.screwtapeonstage.com.

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