Mar 4, 2008

Shadowlands premiers on stage

by Bridgett Scales

Liberty University’s theater department is hoping for another sold-out show this month as it prepares for the premier of “Shadowlands.”
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Director Desiree Smith expressed her excitement about the new production, which has not been performed at Liberty before.
“It has been a dream for many in the area to see this story told here, and it is a dream of mine to direct such a beautiful story, a dream that has been brewing for over two years,” Smith said.
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“Shadowlands” is a love story based on the life of author and theologian C.S. “Jack” Lewis. The story is about his relationship with Joy Gresham, an American writer recovering from a broken marriage. Their relationship began as a pen pal friendship, and after years of corresponding through mail, they finally meet years later when Joy decided to take a trip to England with her son. Through a series of comedic ironies and life-altering events, Jack and Joy fall in love, marry and enjoy three years of marriage before the tragedy of her death shakes the family. The story portrays the life of Joy’s young son, Douglas.
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The play also carries a hidden theme. In the play, Lewis says, “For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial is no more than the shadowlands. Real life has not begun yet.”
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Smith explained, “In other words, we are made by our creator for more than this! Real life begins when this life ends, or in the case with this show, the moment you step through the ‘wardrobe.’ This knowledge makes all the pain and suffering in our lives merely shadows next to the glory we will one day experience. There couldn’t be a more beautiful theme.”
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The cast and crew have put a lot of effort into the play and hope everyone will enjoy the performance.
“This play is a very moving script, and I hope people will take the opportunity to think about the message,” Technical Director Tyson Long said. “From a technical point of view, while the set may seem very simple, it affords us the opportunity to focus on the story.”
Smith has also been in direct contact with Douglas Gresham, the stepson of Lewis and a character in the play.
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“It has been such a blessing to hear firsthand thoughts and stories from the man who at the time watched these events unfold through a child’s eyes,” Smith said.
Gresham noted the story’s unique lessons to people today.
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“It was a love that is rarely seen in young people these days…a love of a visible aura,” Gresham said about the relationship between his mother and Lewis.
The role of Jack will be played by Robert Sanderson, and Jennifer Abbott will play Joy. Tickets for “Shadowlands” are free, but reservation of tickets is required.
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“It is our hope that this will allow anyone to come and be changed,” Smith said.
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Tickets will be available starting Feb. 25. The show runs March 7-12. For exact show times and more information, visit the Liberty University theater Web site, Liberty.edu/academic/arts-sciences/theatre.

Contact Bridgett Scales at bascalesw@liberty.edu.


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