Intelligent, Thought-provoking, Resonant, Absorbing, Great acting, Great writing, Funny
It was all about friendship and understanding different points of view. It showed that people can disagree without screaming and walking away from each other; that there are common threads between us.
Playwright David Payne...would like us to remember these men as much for their legendary friendship as their legendary fantasies.
"Where would we be without friends?" opens Tolkien (played by Gordon Tett with mincing British austerity). "Some make a modest impact on one's life and some an impact so profound that you know you would not be the person you are now without that friendship." It's a speech that anticipates a love to rival Glinda and Elphaba...
As the literary giants sit in their adjacent chairs, we hear Tolkien's thoughts on the "True Myth" of Christ (the argument that famously helped solidify Lewis's Christian beliefs); Lewis's summary of his marriage to Joy Davidman and her tragic death, his reflections on which are poignantly captured in his book A Grief Observed; and the inspirations for both The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, including vows that neither would ever be made into films (wink, wink).
The Fashion List
British acting duo David Payne & Gordon Tett thoroughly impressed at the opening night of “Lewis & Tolkien- Of Wardrobes & Rings” at the Sheen Center on Bleecker Street in Lower Manhattan. Starring as the two legendary writers C.S. Lewis & J.R.R. Tolkien respectively, both actors were so at one with their parts that they literally seemed to be the writers themselves.
Staged in a single set, the Rabbit Room, a sitting room at The Eagle & Child, the legendary pub in Oxford in 1963, the legendary authors mused, sparred, chatted, reviewed, waxed poetically, shared & at times even sat in uncomfortable silence throughout better part of the morning in Act I, followed by an after lunch session in Act II. What emerged was a story far more than the sum of the lines delivered. What the production lacked in traditional theatrical fare like staging, lighting, wardrobe, etc. was more than made up for in quality of material & finesse of delivery.
Payne & Tett both demonstrated incredible command of the script, which was so rich with words that I was left astounded by how actors can possibly remember so many lines & then deliver them with such conversational ease. When, during intermission, it was learned that David Payne also wrote the play, the feat was a bit more clearly understood in his case, but that left Tett to have accomplished his by sheer talent, which both possess ad infinitum.
The story is intriguing, the characters are both enigmatic & approachable, & the message is universal & goes far beyond a simple recitation of historical fact & data.
This play was beyond amazing. I experienced such catharsis from the actors. It made me feel like I was actually there. I experienced laughter, and sadness (tears). The actors and staff were super professional! I plan on attending this play again, but this time with more friends to join.
Superbly written and acted drama...What a fascinating and wide-ranging and enriching relationship...what a privilege to have been able to experience "being in the presence of" these two great men. This three-character cast is superb! The young woman proprietor (Audrey Ney) of the pub - where Tolkien and Lewis have their final meeting - is likable, engaging, and has an obvious knack for the comical. And of Tolkien (Gordon Tett) and Lewis (DAVID PAYNE - who also wrote this drama): it was like being there in the pub with Tolkien and Lewis themselves!