Production 141 Shadowlands

ShadowlandsBy William Nicholson

Performed on Thu 28th to Sat 30th April 1994 at The Astor Theatre

 

 

 

 

The Cast

The Cast

C. S. Lewis: Jack Christopher Sewell
Dr. Maurice Oakley Martin Farr
Prof. Christopher Riley Julian Gilmore
Rev. Harry Harrington Nathan Sewell
Maj. W.H. Lewis: Warnie Richard Sewell
Woman in Tea Room/Nurse Sarah Hollyman-Sewell
Douglas Ross Knight
Joy Gresham, nee Davidman Stephanie Young
Waiter Mario Stylianou
Registrar Dot Smith
Doctor Jo Carnell
Priest Malcolm Hollyman-Sewell

Cast of ShadowlandsCast of Shadowlands

 

View the Gallery

View the Gallery

 

Previews/Reviews

Previews/Reviews

Shadowlands

Cast of Shadowlands

Tears will be a sign of a job well done

Rehearsals are well underway for The Guild Players’ production of Shadowlands, the story of author C.S. Lewis and his love affair with American author Joy Gresham. Playing the leading roles are former Guild chairman Christopher Sewell and Stephanie Young, one of the Players’ most talented actresses. For Christopher, playing the Oxford don, theologian and children’s novelist is a dream come true. Christopher is even prepared to sacrifice his beard to play Lewis, author of countless books and articles including the Narnia chronicles. I have wanted to do Shadowlands for so long, ever since it was on Television 10 years ago. It’s a wonderful part – C.S. Lewis is a man I have admired since I was quite young, so to play him is a real treat, said Christopher. Christopher, a sound recording engineer, has been a member of The Guild Players for 20 years. I love everything to do with the theatre. I find it so fulfilling. He and Stephanie are used to acting together and this is the second time they have played husband and wife on stage – they played Hilda and Jim Bloggs in The Guild Players production of When the Wind Blows, two years ago. Stephanie’s first major part with The Guild Players was Helene Hanf in 84 Charing Cross Road, a character not unlike Joy Gresham. Both were New Yorkers and both were vibrant, vital characters. Both were well educated and both had strong personalities. I had to make sure I did not play them the same, said Stephanie. Stephanie landed the part of Helene Hanff in 84 Charing Cross Road quite by accident. She had actually got a part as a member of the chorus in a production of My Fair Lady the Players were planning to put on but they had to drop the musical when they found out another company had the performance rights. Instead they decided to present 84 Charing Cross Road, Stephanie auditioned for a part and to her amazement got the lead role. She loves acting: I enjoy the chance to be someone else – the suspension of reality – and I’ve got a real buzz from a performance – the adrenaline really flows, said Stephenie, a childminder and playgroup supervisor at Victoria Baptist Church. The play happens to coincide with the release of the film version of Shadowlands directed by Sir. Richard Attenborough and starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. Far from taking people away from the stage production, the fil version is likely to prompt more people to see the Players’ version It definitely helps, by making people more aware of the story said Christopher. But the pair are in two minds as to whether they will watch the film before the play opens: I will probably go and see it afterwards, otherwise I think it will only mess up my performance, said Stephanie. If the audience start to cry at the scenes they will know they have done a good job: Just as we love to laugh and be made to laugh by a performance we also love to have a good weep, and if we make the audience cry in Shadowlands we know we have done our job, said Christopher. Transferring the production to the Astor Theatre aftet the fire at St. George’s Hall has caused problems – the actors have had to get used to a completely new stage and a lack of costumes and props has not helped the situation. But we have had tremendous help from Deal Dramatic Society and the Dover Operatic and Dramatic Society, said Christopher. And the now defunct St. Leaonard’s Players were going to sell their costumes and give the money to charity and they kindly gave the costumes to us. Everyone has been wonderful, he said.

Cast of Shadowlands

Tale of Twisted Love Captivates

Shadowlands, The Guild Players most recent production, took the audience into the magical world of C.S. Lewis as they were captivated by this strange, twisted love story. Credit must be given to the whole cast and production team, not only for performing in such a professional way, but having to move from St. George’s Hall to The Astor Theatre after the fire at St. George’s destroyed all their set, stage, costumes and props. Christopher Sewell’s portrayal of C.S. Jack Lewis was excellently brought over. He was able to mix the emotion and hardship of facing up to life with an element of mystery right through to the light humour which added a nice touch to the play. Jack’s direct conversation with the audience at the beginning of each act brought up direct points on such subjects such as God, friendship and the fact that we live in a shadowland. Richard Sewell, as the major, Jack’s brother, was a loveable, stereotypical old major character, and Julian Gilmore’s rebellious character Christopher Riley was wonderfully brought across once again with light humour. Stephanie Young, whose American accent remained constant throughout, played Joy Gresham, who becomes Jack’s wife, and her performance with Jack was magical. Both Joy and Jack’s characters were so excellently performed together that towards the end one almost had a lump in one’s throat as they had to face what was going to happen, and as the emotion ran high one wished one could do something for them. The audience’s reaction was alive at all times. One could not forget Douglas, played by the young Ross Knight, who kept a magnificent American character throughout – outstanding for a young man. Nathan Sewell as the Rev. Harry Harrington managed to keep his usual high standard of acting despite being ill in production week, showing how the Players perform together and do not let interruptions stop them. Tony Sewell’s directing must be commended. I look forward to the next Guild Players production; it is a shame that members are unable to put on any more at present because they have to find a stage. They will need a lot to live up to this production, but let’s hope we do not have to wait too long.

Paul Rutterford

Production Team

Production Team

Director Tony Sewell
Producer Prue Jamieson

Cast of ShadowlandsCast of Shadowlands