Thirty years after it first premiered in London, Hastings’ Stables theatre presents Shadowlands next month, a powerful and compelling play about C.S. Lewis and his wife, American poet, Joy Davidman.
Lewis is perhaps most well known for his successful series of Narnia books he wrote for children, but he was also a member of The Inklings, a group of literary enthusiasts, along with J R R Tolkein and Neville Coghill among others, that encouraged the writing of fantasy.
The reality of his academic existence as a university lecturer was a different world to Narnia where good prevails and endings are happy. Lewis lived with his older brother Warnie, and after their mother died of cancer when Lewis was eight years old the two brothers came to depend on each other, in fact Lewis was very protective of Warnie when he became dependent on alcohol and would often disappear on drinking binges.
Living an academic bachelor life Lewis was 56 when he got married for the first time to Davidman, 17 years his junior, who had two sons from a previous marriage. Tragically four years later she died of cancer, and Lewis’ philosophical approach to suffering, pain and his religious beliefs were seriously challenged.
William Nicholson’s moving account in the play Shadowlands of this meeting of intellectual minds but clash of cultures – his emotionally hidden approach, and her straight-talking directness that results in mutual respect and deepening affection, and the impact of love and loss.
On opening night the play’s stars were Nigel Hawthorne and Jane Lapotaire and there was a feature film in 1993 starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.
Shadowlands is running at The Stables from Friday May 3rd until Saturday May 11th.
Box office 01424 423221 or www.stablestheatre.co.uk