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Gazette Premium Content Stage version of C.S. Lewis allegory 'The Great Divorce' at Pikes Peak Center

By Jen Mulson Updated: April 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

The famous Christian writer C.S. Lewis proposed that humans create their own hell.

He explored the topic of both heaven and hell in his allegorical novella "The Great Divorce," published in 1945. Max McLean, the author of the stage adaptation of Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters," has now adapted "Divorce" for the stage with co-writer Brian Watkins.

The 90-minute show will be at the Pikes Peak Center on Saturday with two performances.

McLean also will be in town to lead a 10- to 15-minute question-and-answer session after each show.

"It's about the divorce between heaven and hell," McLean says. "It's very witty. Lewis called it a metaphysical fantasy. It's not a musical, and it's not a play in the classic sense of the word."

As the show begins, a narrator is about to board a bus that travels from hell to heaven. Along the way, he meets his passengers - scores of quirky, flawed people, McLean says. Soon after the bus reaches the outskirts of heaven, the passengers are met by spirits tasked with helping them reach their final destination.

Three Broadway actors take turns portraying the narrator and other characters on the bus.

McLean promises a metaphysical puzzle.

"It's going to be almost shocking," he says, "thinking about human choices - their choices they make every moment and the impact that those choices make."

McLean is a Lewis aficionado, constantly reading about the man who also wrote "Mere Christianity" and "The Chronicles of Narnia."

"He challenges my world view constantly. He believes the supernatural world and not the material world," McLean says. "He thinks very little of the material world. We all die. Last time I checked, the death rate was 100 percent. So the fact that you can either say that's it, all we are is a chance arrangement of atoms, or that you can say we come from another world, and this world is not our home.

"He makes that argument so interesting, and he writes about it. 'Narnia' and 'Screwtape' and this piece is about that."

Jennifer Mulson, The Gazette, 636-0270,

4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., $31-$61; 520-7469,

Other events

Cirque Ziva - 7:30 p.m. Friday, Arnold Hall Theater, 2302 Cadet Drive, $24-38; 333-4497,


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