C.S. Lewis Story Comes To Life in Gallery 7 Theatre’s Production Of Shadowlands

By January 10, 2015Arts/Culture

Submitted. Gallery 7 Theatre is pleased to present Shadowlands, the touching story of C.S. Lewis and his romance with American poet, Joy Gresham , as their next production of the 2014/2015 Refined by Fire theatre season. Written by William Nicholson, the play opens January 23rd at the theatre’s new venue, Abbotsford Arts Centre.

Pictured left to right: Jay Danziger is C.S. Lewis and Gemma Martini is Joy Gresham in Gallery 7 Theatre’s production of Shadowlands. Photo by Dianna Lewis.

The serene world of C.S. Lewis, Oxford professor, famous author and determined bachelor, is turned inside out when he is visited by the spirited poet, Joy Gresham. What starts as a cordial friendship transforms into an ardent romance. When Joy develops terminal cancer, C.S. Lewis is forced to re-think his stoic philosophy on pain and suffering and experiences love and compassion on an entirely new level. This touching West-End and Broadway hit explores the power of love, and how suffering and loss can both challenge and transform a person’s character and resolve.

“We’re excited to bring back this touching and sometimes surprising story about the endurance of love, even in the face of extreme hardship and adversity,” explains Ken Hildebrandt, artistic director of Gallery 7 Theatre. “The play is quite beautiful with its charm and humour, yet packs a real emotional punch as we see C.S. Lewis move from a philosophical and emotionally-detached understanding of pain and suffering to something much more real, human and heart-felt.”

Directing the play is TWU professor of theatre, Dr. Lloyd Arnett, who last directed Cotton Patch Gospel for Gallery 7 Theatre. “One of the people who has most shaped my Christian experience through his writings is the Oxford / Cambridge scholar, C.S. Lewis,” Arnett explains. “(C.S. Lewis) wrote fantasy…as a means of helping readers plunge more deeply into reality, which, for Lewis, had the potential, in God, to be more fantastic than human imagination. He seemed to truly believe that eye has not seen nor ear heard all that God has for them that love him.”

Shadowlands will be familiar to many as it was produced by Gallery 7 Theatre 13 years ago as part of its 2001/2002 theatre season. The play has also seen two film treatments: one for BBC Television featuring Joss Auckland as C.S. Lewis, and the other, released in cinemas, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

Playing the role of C.S. Lewis is Jay Danziger, who will be remembered for his performances in Damien and The Foreigner. Playing the role of the spirited American poet, Joy Gresham, is newcomer Gemma Martini. Martini has extensive performance experience, having appeared in productions of Alone Together, Rabbit Hole and All My Sons. John Dawson, who has appeared in many Gallery 7 Theatre productions over the years, takes on the role of Warnie, C.S. Lewis’s brother, while Larry Hamm plays the role of Christopher Riley. Newcomer, Liam Kiers, plays Joy’s son, Douglas. Rounding out the cast are Glen Kask, Maddison McArthur, Cameron Mckerchar, Thomas Smith, Julia Toews, Nick Toews and Tim Warkentin.

Set design is by John Bessette, costume design is by Vicki Bolan, lighting design is by Phil Miguel and sound design is by Lloyd Arnett. Stage manager is Danielle Warmenhoven and production photographer is Dianna Lewis.

Shadowlands runs for two weeks only, January 23 & 24, 29 – 31, 2015 at 7:30 PM with discount matinees on January 24 & 31 at 2:00 PM at the Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way, Abbotsford. Tickets for evening performances are $23 Adults, $21 Students & Seniors, $20 Groups (8+) and $15 for Children 12 & under. Tickets for matinee performances are $18 General Admission and $15 Children 12 & under. They can be purchased at House of James, 2743 Emerson Street, Abbotsford (1-800-665-8828 or 604-852-3701) or online at www.gallery7theatre.com.

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