C.S. Lewis is a name most Lake Houston residents just aren’t familiar with.
Yet, Lewis is creator and author of one young America’s most beloved series of books, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” a classic series of seven fantasy novels for children that have been transformed into immensely popular movies.
Lewis was more than a writer. He was an intellectual giant of the twentieth century and a brilliant lay theologian who, after a brief, youthful period as atheist, became a lay theologian defending Christianity.
Award-winning theater artist Steven Fenley brings Lewis to life in “God’s Megaphone: A Visit with C.S. Lewis,” Sept. 17-26, at the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center. Admission is $25, 281-583-7575, texasreptheatre.com.
“Lewis is a personal hero of mine and his writings have been exceptionally meaningful to me,” Fenley told The Tribune. “I already was familiar with his fiction and that led me to a lifetime fascination with his writings. I played Lewis in a production 10 years ago. It truly inspired me.”
Lewis was a prolific writer — 30 books and hundreds of philosophical writings — so Fenley had a real treasure trove of material to draw from.
“I compiled the show from Lewis’ writings and adapted some theatrical passages as well,” Fenley said. “None of the dialogue is connected in Lewis works. I selected and edited them to enhance the theme of the show, ‘God’s Megaphone.’ Eighty percent of the material is his own words, while I penned the rest of the show and the narration.”
Fenley designed the show as an intimate look at the life and works of what he considers one of the world’s great thinkers.
“If you are a Lewis fan, you will enjoy the show and learn more about him,” said Fenley. “If you have never heard of him, his show will inspire you to investigate his writings. Lewis spent most of his career as a lay theologian, tackling the largest questions about Christianity. This show brings that to life in a way that, I think, the audience will find both thought-provoking and entertaining.”
Fenley is founder and artistic director of the Texas Repertory Theatre which now is the resident performing company of The Bender.
“There is no reason to suffer the ordeal of traveling to downtown Houston to see top-flight professional theater,” said Fenley. “People who live in Lake Houston will have it right in their own backyard.”
In addition to “God’s Megaphone,” Fenley has already scheduled a production of “Driving Miss Daisy” in November.
“We are excited to have a nationally-known actor of film and television playing Daisy. It promises to be a fantastic show,” he said. “We also are bringing another production to The Bender next March. We are negotiating rights on several properties and will announce our selection soon.”
Fenley wants The Texas Rep to be “ … theater with meaning, offering family entertainment that has real meaning for The Bender audience. Since 2006, we have done everything including musicals, American classics, a hundred different shows and more than 2,400 performances.”
The Texas Repertory Theatre presents “God’s Megaphone: A Visit with C.S. Lewis,” adapted and performed by Steven Fenley, Sept. 17-26, at the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center. Admission is $25, 281-583-7575, texasreptheatre.com.