The Screwtape Letters ~ Performed by Mike Appleby

Mike Appleby Performs ‘The Screwtape Letters’

St Mary Magdalene’s was proud to present Mike Appleby’s adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, in church on Monday 10th April 2006. “The Screwtape Letters: From a Senior to a Junior Devil” was published in 1942. Screwtape is the Under Secretary of the Department of Tempters in Hell, sending advice to his nephew Wormwood on how to ensure that his human “patient” goes to the bad.

Lewis (1898-1963) was an Oxford contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien, to whom the book is dedicated. Like Wormwood’s patient, he was himself an “adult convert” from atheism: “In 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God… perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” That experience is recounted in his auto-biographical “Surprised by Joy,” a book which does much to explain the clarity of thought, the hatred of hypocrisy, and the rich imagery of “The Screwtape Letters.” In these books, and in others such as “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and its sequels, Lewis has helped to clarify the understanding of Christianity for millions while also producing literature that stands on its own merits.

Mike Appleby has been involved in amateur theatre all his life, inheriting the tradition from his father, Calvert Appleby, and passing it on to his sons. He is currently active both with The Edinburgh Makars (an old Scots word for poets), of which he is past president, and the Drama Group here at St Mary’s where he grew up. From 2001 to 2005 Mike lived in the United States, and The Screwtape Letters was initially presented in 2003 at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Gaithersburg, Maryland. It is his first adaptation for the stage, and first one-man show. The performance is dedicated to his mother, Jo Appleby.

The letters are titled:

1 The patient
2 The Church
3 Family
4 Prayer
5 War
6 Hatred
7 Devils
8 Undulation
9 Friends
10 Laughter
11 Pleasure
12 Humility
13 Churches
14 Gluttony
15 Marriage
16 Love
17 Chastity
18 Hedonism
19 Pride
20 Unselfishness
21 Death
22 Cowardice
23 Fatigue
24 Them & Him

Photographs © G Giles 2006
Text © M Appleby 2006

Mike Appleby performed the Screwtape Letters at St Mary Magdalene’s once again, at 8:00 pm on Holy Monday, March 29th 2010.