A fascinating one-man play based on the C.S. Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters – the letters from a senior demon to his nephew/student demon.


Anyone old enough to read and understand the source book: The Screwtape Letters. As a rule of thumb….13 years old and up.


My husband and I spent a disturbingly delightful and entertaining 70 minutes with a demon the other afternoon. The demon’s name was Screwtape and he is the creation of one C.S. Lewis. Lewis is the author of the children’s Narnia series as well as deeply philosophical books like The Four Loves, science fiction like Out of the Silent Planet, religious apologetics like Mere Christianity, theological guides like The Problem of Pain and self-mortifying confessions like A Grief Observed.

Lewis was a prolific writer and a deeply committed, practicing Christian who made the long, arduous and painful, but soul fulfilling journey from casual Christian to atheist to devout believer.

For those unfamiliar with the book, The Screwtape Letters is a precursor to the “found footage” movies so prevalent today but created for far more ennobling reasons. The preface to the book Screwtape warns of the dangers of either denying the existence of devils or, contrarily, indulging in an “unhealthy and excessive interest” in them. The first half of the warning reminds me of the line in The Usual Suspects by “Verbal” Kint who admonishes his listener that: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The latter half of the warning brings to mind a comment by C.S. Lewis that this book was the easiest for him to write but also the one that made him most uncomfortable – so much so that he resisted the urgings of his publisher and the general public to write a sequel. He did, some years later, write a short piece entitled Screwtape Proposes a Toast, which, in a condensed version opens the play.

In any event, C.S. Lewis in his preface to Screwtape Letters, states he will not explain how these letters “fell into my hands”. Suffice to say they are a collection of correspondence between Screwtape, a senior demon in Hell, to his nephew/student/lesser demon, Wormwood. In these letters Screwtape attempts to instruct Wormwood in the fine art of seducing a soul (referred to as his “patient”) away from “the enemy” (God) to be food for the denizens of Hell.

During the course of his instructions, Screwtape exposes many of the subtle fallacies and self-delusions to which people who call themselves atheists, as well as those who think of themselves as Christians, can fall prey (my choice of phrase here both gruesomely punny and deliberate).

One would not think that a one-man play dramatizing what amounts to a series of theologically themed short essays could be either interesting or funny. But this play is both. This is a credit to both the wry, dry wit of Mr. Lewis as well as the construction of the play itself. The set is fairly sparse, creating the allusion to a well-to-do Englishman’s smoking room, (smoking – like brimstone. See what I did there?), with two unusual additions. One customization is the twisting ladder which reaches up to the ceiling upon which one can climb to retrieve and send posts via an attached pneumatic tube. The second inclusion is of Screwtape’s wordless, androgynous assistant demon, Toadpipe, who, in the production we saw, is costumed like an evil Papagano from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, all in artificially colorful feathers from head to toe. He/she has no lines but grunts and growls and pantomimes his/her obsequiousness and occasional little mutinies.

The performance was riveting, compelled as we are to breathlessly await the determination of whether the man about whom they communicate will succumb to Wormwood’s ministrations or successfully resist the abyss of Hell.

There is an interesting tension created by Lewis, in that the protagonist, the one with whom audiences, in the overwhelming majority of plays, are naturally manipulated into sympathizing, is a demon from Hell. Resisting the impulse to root for Screwtape, as the protagonist of the tale, is similar to the same pull of temptation which each of us must continually struggle. This odd conundrum reminds us how easy it would be to find ourselves in the clutches of a Wormwood – or that we might already be in this danger. Fortunately, in Screwtape’s commentaries on his increasing frustrations with the failures of his nephew, we are also shown how to extricate ourselves.

We saw Screwtape at the beautiful Jeanette and LM George Theater in Houston, but it is only playing through March 17, 2019. However,  it will be playing at many future theaters to come and you should catch it when you can. OR a community theater in your locale should contact the Dramatic Publishing Company and see about performing it.

In addition, I must compliment the A.D. George Theater whose self-proclaimed mission is:

To produce compelling theatre, from a Christian world-view, that engages a diverse audience.

Screwtape was our first experience with this theater and it promises to most definitely NOT be our last.

BRAVO to the George Theatre and C.S. Lewis!



Midnight Sun is a great first date movie about genuine love through commitment between two lovely young people despite challenges and tragedies.


Appropriate for anyone but younger kids would get bored.



Midnight Sun is a movie about two star-crossed lovers. A cliched term to be sure but in this case quite literally true. The star in question being our own Sol at the center of our solar system. The story is about a young lady, Katie (Bella Thorne – talented actress and singer) with XP, xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare but real genetic disorder wherein the sufferers are unable to repair DNA damage caused by UV radiation. XP makes even brief sun exposure life threatening from cancer and neurologic cascades. Any variation of XP occurs in only 1 of 250,000 people. The extreme kind necessary to the plot that Katie has is 1 in 1,000,000 and only 40% live beyond 20.

The acting is good. Ms. Thorne as Katie is quite adorable and has an excellent singing voice. Katie lives with her widowed father, Jack. Jack is portrayed by Rob Riggle, the real life American hero who I last saw in 12 StrongRiggle's performance of Jack is a kind, gentle but appropriately protective homeschooling dad. (As Katie walks out the door for the evening to play guitar at the train station in her small home town he playfully reminds her to text him when she gets there and that if she is not home in time he will be going down there and making Youtube history with a Why One Should Not Break Curfew video.)

Her best, and pretty much only regular, friend is the typically teen-emotional and humorously dramatic Morgan (Quinn Shepherd) who hangs out with Katie and works in a local ice cream parlor.

Katie has had a crush on a young man, Charlie, (Patrick Schwarzenegger – you guessed it, the progeny of Dad Arnold and Maria Shriver) that she has watched walk, skate and bike by her house every day for the last 10 years.

The movie deals with the fall out that occurs because of XP to Katie, her Dad and all those who care about her. This sounds like it could be depressing. In fact it's not. It's quite funny and delightfully charming. The young people involved seem very familiar to me. They remind me of our homeschooled kids and their friends. They're open, intelligent, honest, genuinely caring, subject to the normal foibles relating to hormones and impatience with the world to which any normal teenager is subject. These kids are portrayed as creative and wonderful young people with tremendous promise.

Because of Katie's condition and some natural shyness she is homeschooled, and aside from Morgan, lives a quiet sequestered life with her dad, writing music behind heavily tinted windows. The night of her graduation she goes out to play guitar at her favorite train station. Charlie hears her, they meet and the rest of the story is about their relationship.

The love story is certainly a wonderfully acted, well written but traditional tale which has been played out many times: Jenny and Oliver in Love Story, Camille and Armand in Camille, Fantine and Jean Valjean in Les Mis. Many publically viewed real life instances abound: Christopher Reeves' wife stood with and for her husband after he was paralyzed following a devastating fall from a horse, Gene Wilder cared for Gilda Radner through her ovarian cancer as did Pierce Brosnan through his wife's terminal illness.  Diane Cavandish kept her husband alive and thriving for 36 years longer than predicted after he contracted polio. CS Lewis married Joy Gresham knowing she had terminal bone cancer. And I am sure that everyone reading this blog knows of or has personally experienced a private example of this kind of self-giving love. My own mother cared for my father at home through his terminal illness.

Midnight Sun is a cinematic personification of Corinthians Ch 13: "…Love…does not seek its own interests…It bears all things … endures all things." I only wish Midnight Sun had more overtly acknowledged a basis in theology and an acceptance of God's Will. The closest we get is when Jack takes a picture of Charlie and Katie and requests humorously that they leave a little space for the Holy Spirit.

This is a story of real love. There is a moment in the musical 1776 when Abigail Adams reminds her husband, as he is experiencing a rare moment of low confidence, that one of the things she most loved and admired about him was his commitment. Charlie, in Midnight Sun, had lost his swimming scholarship because of an injury and wanted to give up. Katie reminds him to persevere and to re-commit to what he has worked so hard for, for so many years. Charlie, in turn, commits to Katie despite all the obvious obstacles, loves purely for the limited time they have and opens doors for her singing talents she did not think possible.


There is no easy resolution to a story of a young girl with a terminal illness. But there is a lot positive to be taken away from an example of commitment to a relationship despite the fears of the unknown – much like a marriage.  Nothing untoward happens, the boy is trustworthy and the father watchfully gives his blessing to their relationship. There is no gratuitous acts of casual sex as in other movies like The Fault in Our Stars where illness is used as an excuse to gratify yourself with someone else. And although these young people in Midnight Sun have but a brief time together, these characters, as written, demonstrate the kind of sacramental commitment one would pray for in any young couple.


Every one of the main characters is created as a powerful witness to the altruism in true love. Katie never complains or bemoans her fate. She is, instead grateful for what she has and her main concern is always for the people around her – she worries about her father's future lonliness, Charlie's scholarship and her best friend's budding romance. Jack only wants to see his daughter happy for as much and as long as he can make that happen and to that end never lets her know how devastated he really is but is the rock to which she can cling. Charlie only thinks of ways he can be strong for Katie and bring her comfort. These are good kind people.


CS Lewis wrote often of the problem of pain – why do bad things happen and the answer is always – to bring about a greater good. Midnight Sun implies this – that even in the darkness you can bring your own light with you. Katie is the Midnight Sun that radiates joy and inspires love in everyone around her through her gratitude for every day she has and in her genuine love of others.


There are no guarantees in life or in love. No one knows the hour or the day that God will call us home. And when we choose to love we step out on a limb in faith. All one can do is to commit to stand by those we love for as long as we are permitted. The script writer of all these lovely characters understands that and presents us with a beautiful example of what committed love should be. Not for gratification. Not for what you can get from the other person, but an altruistic self-giving love that lifts up and encourages the other person to strive for worthy dreams and to accept what God gives you after you have done your best. As Jack explains to Charlie – what you end up with is an understanding that everyday is a gift. I wish Jack had added the two words "from God," but there is nothing in the movie that would deny that truth either.


There can be no more stark contrast than between the altruistic "other"-focused genuine LOVE in Midnight Sun and the extreme self-gratification masquerading under the guise of the word "love" in movies like Love, Simon. Movies like Midnight Sun inspire us to aspire – encourage people to be more and stronger and more courageous than they might otherwise think possible for those they truly love: to sacrifice, forgive, accept and be grateful.


 For a positive and real/reel example of what young romantic LOVE should be – go see Midnight Sun and avoid the garbage that fakes it.



Child's classic story brutally stripped of all vestiges of the originally intended Christian allegory, amateurishly directed with irritatingly constant close-ups, lackluster adult performances, and distractingly stupid costumes. This new A Wrinkle in Time is a glittering dead heap of New Age pseudo-philosophical jargon. But the kids were cute.


To say this movie was a disappointment would be one of this year’s great understatements. To say it was a laughably bad movie would be falling short of a full expose. To say it was offensive to Christianity in general and the Christian faith of its author would not be amiss. There is so much wrong with the new movie titled A Wrinkle in Time (it would be an insult to the source material to call it a filmed version of the book) that I have to do it by category.

Unlike most awards shows or Johnny Carson’s "lists" I will start with the most important first.

The ORIGINAL BOOK premise is that a teenaged girl, her friend Calvin and genius little brother go on a quest to find the teenaged girl’s father. The father, Mr Murray, was captured four years before by a great ubiquitous evil (presumably original sin) while trying to travel through the universe by "wrinkling" space with his mind. The time "wrinkle" of the title is supposed to work the same way and allows them to get back five minutes after their adventure begins. The children are aided by off-world/other-wordly angel-like creatures who masquerade as Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatzit, and Mrs. Which, quirky little old ladies here on Earth.



The author Madeleine L’Engle was a devout Christian. She served as the librarian and writer in residence at New York City’s John the Divine Episcopalian church and her faith informed everything she wrote. Sarah Arthur, author of a biography on Madeleine L’Engle expressed it this way: "It was the wonder and humility of scientists, especially theoretical physicists like Max Planck and Albert Einstein, who eventually convinced [L’Engle] to become Christian. If the Creator of a vast and surprising cosmos could love this small planet enough to become one of us…that was a faith worth clinging to." L’Engle herself is quoted in a 1979 interview with Christianity Today: "I believe we can understand cosmic questions only through particulars. I can only understand God through one specific particular, the incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth." Then, again, in case there is any vestige of doubt as to her perception of Jesus: "To believe that this Creator took on human vesture, accepted death and mortality, was tempted, betrayed, broken, and all for love of us, defies reason. It is so wild that it terrifies some Christians [this]…wild wonder of God’s love, a love we don’t even have to earn."

Keep in mind I was never a fan of this author or this book. Nothing against either – I had just never read anything of L’Engle’s until I blitzed A.W.I.T. to get perspective on the movie. It quickly becomes obvious, to even the casual observer or non-believer, that L’Engle intended a CS Lewis-style Christian allegory.

For example, the angel-like winged creatures which inhabit the origin planet of the three other-worldy Mrs. W’s fly and dance singing constantly. What they sing is: "Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the ends of the earth, ye that go down to the sea…the isles…the inhabitants…the wilderness…the cities…the rock…let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord."

When the three Mrs. W’s explain to the children they will be fighting a terrible evil darkness, they ask who they can think of on Earth who has fought the darkness. Mrs. Who herself quotes John 1: 5, "And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." To which one of the children immediately shouts: "Jesus! … Why of course, Jesus!" Mrs. Who then asks the children who else might be those who fight against the darkness and the list is: Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Bach, Pasteur, Curie, Einstein, Schweitzer, Gandhi, Buddha, Beethoven, Rembrandt, St. Francis, Euclid, and Copernicus. All of these are people who have fought and some who died to alleviate suffering, bring beauty into the world, and help comprehend the intricacies of the world’s Intelligently Created order.

Mrs. Who usually speaks in quotes of the famous: Shakespeare "We are such stuff as dreams are made of", Pascal, Dante, Seneca, Perez, Horace, Cervantes "Experience is the mother of knowledge", Delille "How small is the Earth to him who looks from Heaven", Euripides "Nothing is hopeless, we must hope for everything", the Bible, and Goethe – the Good Book plus European and British poets, philosophers and authors. She speaks in: English, Latin, Italian, Spanish, German, French, Portugese and Greek.


In 1959 Charlton Heston starred in Ben Hur – a movie about an unjustly imprisoned man and his family who, through direct encounters with Christ, are redeemed, learn forgiveness, and find healing in soul and body. At the end of the movie the main character’s sister and mother, diseased with leprosy, are cured by touching the blood which flowed from Christ on the Cross through the rivulets of water during the storm following Jesus’ death. There is no question, as John Wayne’s character said in The Greatest Story Ever Told: "Truly this man was the Son of God." That was back in the day when even establishment Hollywood knew how to make a religious movie, when practicing Jewish producers, directors and writers respected the faith of their Christian brethren and vica versa.

In 2006 Ben Hur was divested of all reference to the Divinity of Jesus and reduced the character to —- well, he was a very nice man. No cure for the sister and mother, no major revelations.

New Ben Hur was disappointing at best, offensive at worse, right? But 2006's Ben Hur was by far a more theologically rich movie than 2018's travesty of A Wrinkle in Time because in the 2006 Ben Hur at least Jesus makes a guest appearance!

This 2018 A.W.I.T. is a twisting of the classic children’s book which skins and strips the living Christianity out of every iota of the story until it is a glittering dead heap of new age pseudo-philosophical jargon.

In Mrs. Who’s quotes they replace Pascal (mathematician), Dante (theological poet) – two extremely devout Christians, and Euripides – a classic Greek playwright whose works have survived the test of 2,500 years of time, with Gilbran, a popular but vague and muddled cult writer whose theology is so muddled together in an ecclectic stew of ideas as to be indecipherable, Rumi – a Muslim poet, included, no doubt in a syncophantic bow to Hollywood’s god of diversity, and ……. Chris Tucker "Dang". Chris Tucker? "Dang" is a quote? REALLY? How "in the face" of Western European Classic culture with a middle finger can you get than including a "quote" by a flash in the pan American comedian? And Outkast – they quote Outkast "You need to git out, git up and git something" – a modern American HIP HOP group! And Miranda from the pathetic excuse for a historic musical, Hamilton "Tomorrow they'll (sic) be more of us". Even their Shakespeare is vapid "When shall we three meet again" and is spoken by the EVIL WITCHES FROM MACBETH!!! How dumb are these people? They're having the good guys quote Satanically evil bad guys. Or maybe they knew exactly what they were doing and subtley endorsing the very evil the heroes of this story are supposed to be fighting!

What is WRONG with them?!? At least quote Americans who have something to say – George Washington, Martin Luther King, Thomas Paine, Booker T. Washington, Emily Dickenson, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, even Groucho Marx who was at least funny!!!!!

Most egregiously – in the list of those who fight the darkness, Jesus, whose name is mentioned first and with emphasis by Ms. L’Engle and referenced directly and indirectly several other times, is never named. Not — even — once. Not once in the entirety of this whole misbegotten travesty of a movie. The writers of this script do not so much as mention the name of the Son of God for whom this entire book was written.

Instead of sound theology we get new age woman-hood-ness-ish nonsense – everything revolves around Meg and her blossoming into a "warrior", boosting her self-esteem and encouraging her to think better of herself. Do you know who, demographically, are the single group with the highest self-esteem? Career criminals. This is what gets them into trouble. They have little empathy or use for others. They think they are the center of the universe and when the universe, society in general and the criminal justice system disagree they end up in jail. THIS is the model they wish to set up as the New Age Princess? And, I guess, Calvin and her little brother Charles Wallace are disposable because they are boys, as demonstrated by her lack of concern after the rock tornado, as described below. And her father is useless because he "abandoned" them.


The only thing that moves faster than light is darkness…… what the HECK does that mean? Darkness is the absence of light, not a thing unto itself. This dumb concept isn’t in the book.

Having taken out all references to Christianity, including the home planet society of angels and their praise and worship of the Living God, the writers had to fill in time with SOMEthing. So they decided on stupid things which did nothing to further the narrative – like a rock tornado which chases the children, during which time the protective Meg incomprehensibly forgets all about her little brother. After the crisis has ended Charles Wallace’s sudden reappearance is taken with a ho hum shrug instead of the hysterical relief it should have merited.

Calvin in the book is always respectful and solicitous of Meg but in the movie has at least one moment of unexplained downright stalk-y creepiness after the rock tornado.

The movie contains, in a (presumably accidental) scene of accuracy to the book a street full of children who all bounce their balls in unison. Mothers call their children to come in simultaneously. In this scene from the book as well as other scenes in the book which emphasize the concept, Ms. L’Engle exposes the calamity of socialistic and communistic loss of individuality and the evil of the tyrannical requirement of cliquish uniformity. Apparently this hit way too close to home for the writers as the follow ups which made this one street scene make sense were cut out. Gone is the newspaper boy who throws newspapers with exacting rhythmicness, then explains he will be "reprocessed" if he does not. Excised are scenes where people in the downtown area move about in drab and anxious uniformity. I guess it would have expressed the evil of the hive mind too well.


Apparently Ms. DuVernay went to the TV soap opera school of direction because every emotion – be it awe, fear, grief, joy, or surprise, was given a CLOSE-UP!!!!!!!! I mean a CLOSE-UP!!! so far in that you not only lost most of the top of their head but any connection to whom that person was talking. You get no reaction shots unless you cut to another CLOSE-UP!!!!! This gets tiresome after the first three or four DOZEN times she does this. There were so many CLOSE-UPS!!!! I thought I was going to get a nose bleed.


You might laugh at the idea of Oprah Winfrey acting but I’ve seen her do a smashingly good job. Not only did she do a truly noteworthy job as the abused and abusive wife in The Color Purple, but she didn’t mind looking really ugly, dumpy and every worn mile of her character’s hard life. I thought at the time that she could have a decent career in performance. Alas it was not to be and this cringy amateur-ish mechanical reading of her lines is the result.

The kids are actually pretty good. I liked them. Not much they could do with the washed out script but Storm Reid was emphathizable as Meg, the grieving daughter, Levi Miller was charming and natural as Calvin, the friend, and Deric McCabe was quite believable as the prodigiously intelligent little brother of Meg, Charles Wallace. Unfortunately, most of the kids’ moments are ruined with the ubiquitous and unrelenting CLOSE-UPS!!!!!!

Chris Pine, who does a terrific job as the new Captain Kirk in the rebooted Star Trek movies, is totally wasted as Mr. Murry, the lost father. All he gets an opportunity to do is weep and look desperately sad in CLOSE-UPS!!!!!



The Mrs. W’s were unassuming, mousey-looking, grandma-like little old ladies, going about their magical business in stealth and modest inconspicuousness. Mrs Whatzsit even goes so far as to "borrow" a neighbor’s sheets to make humble ragamuffin clothes.


The three "leads" were doodied up like Glenda the Good Witch parading on the Red Carpet during the Oscars. They were dolled up to be young, beautiful, wealthy and ostentatious – the exact opposite of what Ms. L’Engle intended.

Mrs. Whatzits' sheets, instead of the homemade hodgepodge they were to be intended, look as though they were designed by Yves Saint Laurent. Ms. Who wore large flashy bell like get ups I marveled that she didn’t fall and roll in during one scene where she was required to run mincingly down a hill. And Mrs Which – well if you like to see three story high versions of Oprah Winfrey dressed in reject Liberace costumes last used when he was King of Bacchus………



In the book, when they arrive at Uriel, the home planet of the Mrs. W’s, Mrs. Who transforms into a creature one might encounter as an angel in CS Lewis’ The Great Divorce. In The Great Divorce, denizens of Purgatory are given a bus tour of Heaven including seeing angels. The creatures of Uriel are much like those angels – powerful and regal, much like a centaur with wings of shimmering filigree that take your breath away.

The Happy Medium is a ploy for Ms. L’Engle to let the children get a safe look at IT, the evil thing which inhabits all of Camazotz and hovers threateningly over Earth, causing strife and pain. The Happy Medium is a simple woman with a crystal ball who prefers to see happy things but willingly helps the Mrs. W’s and the children in a simple projection from her ball.


Instead of a majestic angel, Mrs Whatzit turns into a green stingray with the head of an artichoke and drops Calvin in mid-flight. This, of course, does not happen in the book but is another unnecessary waste of celluloid to fill the vacuum where Christianity once shone as the theme.

The Happy Medium is a man clown who requires silly ritualistic behaviors to project the needed images – they have to "center" and stand on one foot with their eyes closed on teetering rocks over an abyss – no really this is what he tells them they have to do. I kept expecting him to say he was kidding.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. This movie is a waste of time at best and a destructive piece of brainless propaganda at worst. It's certainly a waste of money.

Go read the book to your kids instead.