Published On: Fri, Oct 26th, 2012

Max McLean brings ‘The Screwtape Letters’ to Tampa’s Straz Center

Satan’s shrink comes to the stage in Tampa in C.S. Lewis’ satire “The Screwtape Letters,” starring Max McLean. “Letters” has been widely praised, showing well over 300 times in New York.

Max McLean in “The Screwtape Letters” at Tampa’s Straz Center

McLean brings “Screwtape” back to Tampa after a sellout run in 2011 and made to talk in a phone interview with The Global Dispatch.

“(Tampa) was fantastic! It was the biggest contributing decision to come back.”

C.S. Lewis novel provides a series of lessons in living a deliberate Christian life by focusing on typical human life, full of temptations and failures, through the eyes of the devil.

“Yeah, it’s interesting. The ideas are presented there in the book, the spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. This all echoes St. Paul really… (quotes 2 Corinthians 2:11) ‘ignorant of his devices’ as he (Satan) masquerades around us getting us to put your guard down and slowly but surely make bad decisions and in the end, make a soft, gentle path to hell.”

The witty actor has performed Screwtape over 600 times and gave the Tbo.com a fantastic synopsis of the performance.

“It’s a literal battle for the soul, where Screwtape is the predator and every human on Earth is the prey. There’s a lesson here. If you let down your guard and let the devil in, despite all of the temptations, you could end up taking the low path to hell.”

Max McLean and demon in “The Screwtape Letters” photo Gerry Goodstein

Fans won’t need to come braced for a sermon or a beating over the head. “Screwtape Letters” is full of laughs.

“There are a lot of laughs. The humor comes from a slightly uncomfortable place. Screwtape is the Chief Psychiatrist (of Satan). He really understands human nature, like he has a file on you…knows you well, where your tipping points are to put you in a situation where you think you can handle that.”

McLean then detailed the bridge from the theater to a Christian message or even salvation.

“Entertaining…it has to be entertaining, a message through entertainment. Through that comes a convicting experience, a sense that you need to put on the armor of God in a way I didn’t expect. Lastly, that can become a life changing event.”

Christianity and salvation in the theater may seem unorthodox.

“There are boundries in the church, they exort you,” he explains. “People have to be in a place for that, ‘Ears to Hear’, but theater doesn’t require that. It grabs the imagination. You and I will not do our homework until it’s meaningful. My jobs is to make it meaningful.”

McLean continued, describing his own personal journey.

Max McLean and demon in “The Screwtape Letters” photo Gerry Goodstein

“When I read the Bible, Jesus came off of the pages. I was deeply moved by the story, which led to the feeling of “What must I do?”

The Panama born actor then explained a brief bout with atheism.

“Well, not as much as Lewis. What do we all do? As W.C. Fields joked when people were aghast at the sight of him reading the Bible, he said: ‘I’m looking for a loophole.’ That’s what we all do, because we are looking for another way.”

With a long tenure on “Screwtape Letters” McLean still finds growing admiration for its writer, C.S. Lewis.

“I always admired him. Now it’s just short of idolatry (laughs)…the genius, the humility, the clever pictures he draws as an amateur theologian…This is what gives him a wide view of what people respond to. When you get more theology you can get more myopic, but Lewis was such a generalist. Few read so widely as Lewis…or as deeply as he did. He has such a fertile imagination which fed his Christianity and the understanding of ourselves and the supernatural world that exists.”

The “The Screwtape Letters” tour continues on to Dallas, New York and Boston in November.

Max McLean and demon in “The Screwtape Letters” photo Gerry Goodstein

For more information, show dates, go to their website: http://www.screwtapeonstage.com/

Official Synopsis:

C.S. Lewis’ brilliant novel The Screwtape Letters, reveals spiritual warfare from a demon’s point of view. A sold-out hit in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., this funny, provocative, and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation starring Max McLean as Screwtape will change the way you think about how demons influence your everyday life.

TAMPA Show Dates & Times

Sat., Oct. 27, 4 and 8 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 28, at 3 p.m.

Tickets: http://www.strazcenter.org/Events/Rentals/The_Screwtape_Letters.aspx

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Max McLean interview: C.S. Lewis, ‘The Great Divorce’ and bringing spiritual warfare to the stage - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] To listen to the previous interview with Max – check it out HERE […]

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