I’d known about it since last fall, bought it for myself as a Christmas present, only in late Spring got a chance to listen through most of it un-interrupted, and just this past week finished the audio epic on the drive to an otherwise wasted on-camera audition.
I refer to the audio version of “The Screwtape Letters”, by C.S. Lewis. It was produced in 2009 for Focus On The Family, an organization I would not usually associate with anything approaching Radio Drama or other creative audio production. But whoever was in charge let the producers “go for it”…and the result is captivating on multiple levels.
Much of that magic is due to the casting of Andy Serkis (“Gollum” in Lord of the Rings, and other wonderful acting turns). But you won’t hear the simpering little ex-Hobbit in this vocal creation. Serkis captures the full range of the title character – a cynical, sophisticated denizen of the bureaucracy of Hell who oozes charm when it suits, flings withering sarcasm when he desires, and unleashes the rage of a wild thing when he’s crossed.
The promotional video below dwells on more than the performance, and uses more “over-the-top” moments than the subtleties the full production offers. But it might convince you to give a listen…regardless of your beliefs…just for the audio experience!
Be warned…the volume level may need lowering before you start the video. Otherwise you may scare yourself, your co-workers, or any sleeping dog or cat nearby.
I’ve been told there’s a good audiobook version of “Screwtape” read by John Cleese and I’m going to seek it out. But as much a fan as I am of the “ex-Python”, I can’t imagine him being as frightening as the Screwtape I’ve just escaped the company of.
— over…down…and out —