The works of British author C.S. Lewis are widely read today, especially among younger people and those of a religious bent, but the author's personal story overshadows his popular fiction in terms of dramatic impact.
In William Nicholson's semi-biographical play "Shadowlands," now on stage as the American Coast Theater Co.'s second summer production at Vanguard University, Lewis's life rather than his work is brought center stage in a production calculated to bring a tear to the hardiest of eyes.
Lewis, known to his friends as Jack, already was firmly established in the literary world when his path crossed with that of Joy Gresham, an American writer visiting London with her young son and who is on the verge of becoming a divorcee. They married — as a convenience so she could stay in England — but convenience soon turned into genuine love.
It's a heartwarming story — except that Joy was stricken with cancer and died within a few years of the marriage. This is the tale which the ACTC dramatizes at Vanguard in a beautifully realized production under the detailed direction of Marianne Savell.