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Alliance Theatre hosting C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Great Divorce’
by Bobby Tedder
June 11, 2014 01:48 PM | 5012 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo / From left, Tom Beckett, Christa Scott-Reed and Joel Rainwater perform a scene in ‘The Great Divorce.’
Special Photo / From left, Tom Beckett, Christa Scott-Reed and Joel Rainwater perform a scene in ‘The Great Divorce.’
C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” has been hailed as evidence that giving people something to talk about and making them think do not have to be mutually exclusive aims.

The New York-based Fellowship for Performing Arts production, set to play the Alliance Theatre through Sunday, is leaving ample critical acclaim in its wake as it makes the rounds as part of a world premiere tour.

The narrative — a standard theme in the venerated Lewis canon — centers on its characters’ journey to heaven and hell. The play is billed as a provocative exploration of human nature featuring Lewis’ trademark wit.

The Neighbor Newspapers caught up with fellowship Artistic Director Max McLean, a Lewis lifer, for a candid interview on the eve of the show’s Atlanta debut.

Q: How challenging was it to produce this C.S. Lewis material?

A: We’re very experienced and skilled at adapting Lewis — from the page to the stage — and this is one of his best-known works. We had such a wonderful experience [producing] “The Screwtape Letters” … we wanted to engage in that again. With this, we stick very closely to the book.

Q: What are your expectations of the audience in regards to this particular play?

A: It’s Lewis, so it’s going to be really thought-provoking. Audiences will also be very entertained. His is a constellation of ideas you get almost nowhere else. So, audiences are really challenged. He puts up a mirror to ourselves, our psyche. For some people, it’s a convicting experience. … For others, it’s a life-changing experience.

Q: What kind of feedback have you been getting from patrons thus far?

A: Lewis challenges your worldview. People have this very imaginative experience that puts them in a different place and the audience is trying to come to terms with it. They feel they’ve had an experience with the supernatural world, which is what Lewis wants.

Q: How far back does your personal relationship with Lewis’ body of work go?

A: I’ve been reading Lewis now for 30 years. He’s in many ways my spiritual father. I look to him for encouragement, for stretching me, for challenging me. Reading Lewis makes me a better person.

If you go:

o What: “C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce”

o When: today through Sunday

o Where: The Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown

o Tickets: $25 to $55

o Information: (404) 733-5000 or

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