Gallery 7 presents Shadowlands

Depicts story of C.S. Lewis and poet Joy Gresham

(From left) Jay Danziger is C.S. Lewis

(From left) Jay Danziger is C.S. Lewis

Gallery 7 Theatre presents its production of Shadowlands starting Jan. 23 in Abbotsford.

The play, written by William Nicholson, depicts the touching story of C.S. Lewis and his romance with American poet Joy Gresham.

The serene world of Lewis – Oxford professor, famous author and determined bachelor – is turned inside out when he is visited by the spirited Gresham.

What starts as a cordial friendship transforms into an ardent romance.

When Gresham develops terminal cancer, Lewis is forced to re-think his stoic philosophy on pain and suffering and experiences love and compassion on an entirely new level.

This West-End and Broadway hit explores the power of love, and how suffering and loss can both challenge and transform a person’s character and resolve.

Shadowlands was previously produced by Gallery 7 Theatre 13 years ago as part of its 2001/2002 theatre season. The play has also seen two film treatments: one for BBC Television featuring Joss Auckland as C.S. Lewis, and the other, released in cinemas, starring Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger.

Directing the play is Trinity Western University professor of theatre Dr. Lloyd Arnett, who last directed Cotton Patch Gospel for Gallery 7 Theatre.

Playing the role of C.S. Lewis is Jay Danziger, who will be remembered for his performances in Damien and The Foreigner, while playing Gresham is newcomer Gemma Martini.

Martini has extensive performance experience, having appeared in productions of Alone Together, Rabbit Hole and All My Sons.

John Dawson, who has appeared in many Gallery 7 Theatre productions over the years, takes on the role of Warnie, C.S. Lewis’s brother, while Larry Hamm plays the role of Christopher Riley.

Newcomer Liam Kiers plays Joy’s son, Douglas.

Rounding out the cast are Glen Kask, Maddison McArthur, Cameron Mckerchar, Thomas Smith, Julia Toews, Nick Toews and Tim Warkentin.

Set design is by John Bessette, costume design by Vicki Bolan, lighting design by Phil Miguel and sound design by Lloyd Arnett.

The stage manager is Danielle Warmenhoven and the production photographer is Dianna Lewis.

Shadowlands runs Jan. 23 and 24 and 29 to 31 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre (2329 Crescent Way) at 7:30 p.m., with additional matinees at 2 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 31. Tickets are available through the House of James (2743 Emerson St., 604-852-3701) or online at gallery7theatre.com. Prices range from $15 to $23.