Listen: Richard Woodhouse chats to Katrina Roe
If you love and appreciate the works of CS Lewis – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters – then you’ll love the new theatre production of The Great Divorce.
Showing at Marrickville’s Flight Path Theatre, the play tells a fascinating and timeless tale that both entertains and confronts.
Chatting to Hope 103.2, director Richard Woodhouse said The Great Divorce is an allegory based on a dream C.S. Lewis had, “where he found himself trapped in a lifeless, joyless grey town where nothing seemed really real or satisfying and everyone hated each other”.
Lewis realises that this grey town is in fact hell, so he boards a bus full of bickering, squabbling people bound for heaven. He finds heaven to be a magical garden paradise, full of talking waterfalls and unicorns and truly joyful people. By comparison, the inhabitants of hell are ghosts.
One by one, the ghosts in hell are confronted by the things that are holding them back from experiencing joy.
A Timeless Play that Entertains and Confronts
Although written in 1945, Richard believes the themes of The Great Divorce are timeless, and that Roslyn Hicks’ script brings out the humour that already exists in the famous novel.
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“It’s a wonderful way to experience Lewis’ message.” Richard said.
“It’s an incredibly fun show to watch. You can sit there thinking ‘Oh yeah that proud guy is just like Steve from down the road’ and ‘Oh that possessive woman is just like my Aunt Gladys’—and then you get to a point where you think ‘Oh no – that particular ghost is me. Oh dear!’”
“You can sit there thinking ‘Oh that possessive woman is just like my Aunt Gladys’—and then you you think, ‘Oh no – that particular ghost is me!’”
Richard said that Lewis’ hope in writing the novel was to challenge Christian people to think more deeply about their own sin.
“I’ve been extremely challenged while working on this show, as I’m sure all of our cast have been,” he said. “And his hope is also to highlight to those who don’t yet know Jesus what they’re missing out on when they divorce themselves from proper relationships – both from their fellow human beings and from God.”
“So our hope is to get people talking about these concepts Lewis raises.”
The Great Divorce is playing 10 shows at Flight Path Theatre from September 25 to October 5th. Details and bookings at flightpaththeatre.org