'Great Joy and Laughter' Onstage at Reunion 2012

One of Asbury’s favorite authors will come to life Friday, June 15, as British actor David Payne brings his one-man show, “An Evening with C.S. Lewis,” to Reunion 2012 at 7 p.m. in Hughes Auditorium.

Actor David Payne will present "An Evening with C.S. Lewis" at Reunion 2012 in June.
Actor David Payne will present "An Evening with C.S. Lewis" at Reunion 2012 in June.

Payne’s fascination with C.S. Lewis, author of “Mere Christianity” and the Narnia Chronicles, began when he landed the lead role in a production of “Shadowlands” with the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in 1996. Since then, he has adapted Lewis’ story and writings into presentations ranging from a one-man show based on Lewis’ “A Grief Observed” to a musical based on “The Screwtape Letters.”

“Lewis is unique in that he was able to write (and thus communicate) on so many levels,” Payne said. “He could write scholastic works such as 'English Literature in the Sixteenth Century' and then turn his hand to a children's book like 'The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe,' which, of course, also appealed to adults.

“He was a great author on many levels, a great Christian, a great educator and, through one of his last works, ‘A Grief Observed,’ a great comforter to many who had to go through the process of mourning.”

The show selected for Asbury’s Reunion, “An Evening with C.S. Lewis,” was inspired by the questions about Lewis that Payne would receive following his performances. In the show, which is set in 1963 at Lewis’ home outside of Oxford, England, Lewis entertains a visiting group of American writers with stories of his life and experiences.

“David Payne’s portrayal of C. S. Lewis is the next-best-thing to being able to have the real C. S. Lewis come to Asbury,” said Dr. Devin Brown, a professor of English at Asbury and widely published author on topics concerning Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  “His ‘Evening with C. S. Lewis’ conveys not only Lewis's profound Christian insights but also his great joy and love of laughter. Being able to enjoy a performance like this together — with its story of the joys and sorrows of a life committed to God — reminds us of what the Asbury community is all about.”

For additional insight, Brown and media communication professor Greg Bandy will present “C.S. Lewis: Why He Matters Today,” a documentary created in 2010 that explores some of the themes Lewis frequently communicated.

Online registration for Reunion 2012 will begin in late April, and registration materials can also be found in the Spring 2012 issue of The Ambassador magazine (late April). For more information, contact the Alumni Relations office at (859) 858-3511, ext. 2167.

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