‘An Evening with Lewis & Tolkien’
Friends of the Library of Sewanee: The University of the South invites you to attend the fifth annual Tom G. Watson Memorial Event. This year, we are offering a play, “An Evening with Lewis & Tolkien,” written and directed by David Payne. The play will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Guerry Auditorium. The public is invited to attend and there is no admission charge. This event is being co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library, Library and Information Technology Services, University Lectures Committee, School of Theology, Department of English, and Dialogue Across Difference.
The year is 1963 and J.R.R. Tolkien is at an Oxford pub waiting for his long-time friend, C.S. Lewis, to arrive. Lewis is recovering from a heart attack and Tolkien is aware that Lewis’ failing health means the opportunities for them to meet up may be less than either would like. Tolkien has chosen to meet in the Eagle & Child pub where, in the early years of their friendship, they met weekly – the pub they always referred to as The Bird & Baby.
David Payne, playing the role of C.S. Lewis, is the author, actor, and director of the play. David’s first time on stage was at the age of 56 at Nashville’s prestigious Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). He had been in Nashville for a music project when he read a theatrical bulletin which contained seven words that would change his life – “Auditions for Shadowlands, British accents a help.” He had never been on stage before but, having been born in London in 1942, he did have a British accent! He went along to the audition hoping to get a small part and to everyone’s surprise — not least his own — won the lead role of C.S. Lewis. Following his Nashville debut, he has performed his much acclaimed one man show, “An Evening with C.S. Lewis,” more than 1,500 times. An earlier version of that show on YouTube is nearing 2.5 million views. He has written and performed in numerous self-penned productions, including “An Evening with Lewis & Tolkien.” David will return to TPAC this coming Christmas season with his latest production, “Christmas with C.S. Lewis.” In 2023 David will tour with “Churchill,” a show that he wrote in 2020 when most of his schedule was cancelled due to Covid . Already being hailed a master class in acting, David portrays the famous British politician as he recalls the events and people that did much to prepare him for his wartime role including the two most important women in his life, his wife, Clementine and Queen Elizabeth.
Gregory Williams Welsch will play the role of J.R.R. Tolkien. Having trained in New York, Greg is based in Nashville. He has received awards for his many portrayals including Vladimir in Samuel Becket’s “Waiting for Godot”; Mitch in the Tennessee Williams classic, “A Streetcar Named Desire”; and his portrayal of 12 different characters in “The Life and Times of Lenny Bruce.” Four years ago, Greg teamed up with David Payne for the premiere presentation of the production “An Evening with Lewis & Tolkien.” During those four years, his portrayal of the author that gave the world “The Lord of the Rings” has thrilled audiences. Because the demand for David’s production “An Evening with C.S. Lewis” was more than David himself could perform, Greg has been entrusted with the role for which he has also received much praise. This coming Christmas season he will join with David, and actor Jonathan Swenson, in portraying the renowned British author in David’s “Christmas with C.S. Lewis.” Three actors are required as the production will be over a four-week period and will play in 14 cities. David is delighted that Greg will be portraying C.S. Lewis for this Christmas tour and all the more so since Greg joined David in the UK for the rehearsals. “Greg’s audiences are going to be enthralled by his performance which will, once again, prove what an accomplished actor he is.” You can find more about the upcoming plays at <https://birdandbabyproductions...;.
There will be an intermission during the play and the actors will offer a brief Q&A session following the talk. Parking will be available on University Avenue.
More information about the Friends of the Library can be found at their website: http://libguides.sewanee.edu/FOL;. If you have questions about the talk or joining the Friends of the Library, please contact Penny Cowan at (931) 598-1573 or <email@example.com>.