Screwtape Is Hitting The Stage In Sydney - Hope 103.2

Screwtape Is Hitting The Stage In Sydney

One of C.S. Lewis’s most famous works, The Screwtape Letters, is coming to Sydney’s Seymour Centre in October - in theatrical form.

By Clare BruceFriday 25 Sep 2015Hope BreakfastCultureReading Time: 3 minutes

One of C.S. Lewis’s most famous works, The Screwtape Letters, is coming to Sydney’s Seymour Centre, in theatrical form.

Actress and Excelsia College drama lecturer Hailey McQueen has adapted the much-loved work for the stage, after seeing a production of it on Broadway.

The classic book is based on a series of fictional, covert letters exchanged between a senior demon – Screwtape – and his nephew, the junior demon Wormwood.

Screwtape’s prime goal through the letters is to train his nephew to tempt and destroy humans.

Highlighting The Drama And Comedy Of Screwtape

Writer of The Screwtape Letters stage play, Hailey McQueen.

Inspired: Writer of The Screwtape Letters stage play, Hailey McQueen.

Hailey McQueen told Hope Media’s Dan Widdowson and Laura Bennett that the stage play almost “wrote itself”, with the original book built around on constant dialogue, much like a theatrical script.

“It’s so well written and I haven’t had to do a lot to it, to be honest,” she said. “We’ve just brought out some of the comedy and the drama.”

She read The Screwtape Letters book six times in the process of writing the play and said that she wanted to highlight the way Lewis had turned theology on its head.

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“I guess it’s the reverse theology that I really wanted to bring out,” she said. “This idea that God is the enemy and the devil is the lord. When you do all those reversals the comedy comes out.

“We’ve got this great little character, Toadpipe [played by Excelsia College graduate George Zhao], who we’ve really developed the comedy aspect with. I think he’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Playing A Demon Comes With Great Responsibility

George Zhao will play Toadpipe in The Screwtape Letters

Comic role: George Zhao will bring out the comedy of ‘Screwtape’ with his character Toadpipe, the evil scribe.

Hailey’s fellow Sydney actor Yannick Lawry, who will star as Screwtape, said he had a mixture of feelings about playing the role of a demon.

“I think there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with playing the role of Screwtape,” he said, “because obviously, he’s intrinsically evil.”

“What he’s campaigning for is the damnation of various different souls. And there are elements which are really comical, but I think when I read through it, as an actor and as a Christian, I’m thinking, “there’s the stuff of real eternal consequence here”.

“So I guess there’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with making sure that is clearly communicated.”

Screwtape Inspired Bono’s MacPhisto Character

Bono of U2 was inspired by C.S Lewis's 'The Screwtape Letters'

Dedicated fans of U2 will remember that The Screwtape Letters famously inspired the band’s lead singer Bono to create the devil character Mr MacPhisto, who featured in their highly theatrical Zoo TV Tour.

Bono, in playing a devilish character, said that he was not glorifying Satan but rather mocking him, and highlighting his tactics. He was inspired by C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape approach, “mock the devil and he will flee”.