Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mitch Reviews The Screwtape Letters

[Guest Blogger Mitch did a review of a theatrical production of The Screwtape Letters for another site. To prevent this from being just linkage, he was nice enough to give this site some extra words. Theater reviews is a new idea, but I say let's try it.]

The (Devilish) Assault of Reason at Off-Off-Online

I had never read The Screwtape Letters before I saw this production—in fact I don’t think I’ve even read any of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books. But I have always been very interested in him, because he’s always been so unapologetic about the amount of influence Christianity has on his work. Appropriately, most of the people involved in this staged version listed work for religious organizations or in religious theater in their bios.

So here is a biting satire about religion written by a devout Christian in the forties and put on by Christians now… and it’s FUNNY! What is the world slowly coming to?

One part that I didn’t talk about in the review is the beginning, in which the demon Screwtape gives a commencement speech-type toast to a new crop of graduates from the Tempters Training College. This little section wasn’t actually based on anything in the novel The Screwtape Letters; it is based on a short story Lewis wrote for The Saturday Evening Post years later called Screwtape Proposes a Toast. (Note: Why isn’t there a Saturday Evening Post anymore? Everything I hear about it is awesome.) Lewis introduces a great concept in this toast—that the Devil and all of his demons actually devour the souls that they bring to Hell. In fact there is a weird hierarchy in the structure of a demon’s diet. Particularly corrupt souls—like Hitler—are considered gourmet delicacies in Hell, while those who are only a little misguided would be considered humdrum. I guess Atheists would taste like… flan? Tofu? The not-so-subtle distinctions in the demonic palette are among the more amusing aspects of Screwtape.

Oh, and yeah the review title is a reference to Al Gore’s book.

You can read my full review at here

And if you are interested to read my other reviews at Off-Off, you can find them all here:

I’ve been writing at Off-Off for about a year and a half now—it’s a fun gig. Free theatre that ranges from excellent to weird to abysmal (check out my review of Vermillion Wine if you are curious to explore the depths of slap-shodary). Oh and they pay a little too, which is nice.

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