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The Great Divorce

From 10 critic and 11 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Confusing, Entertaining, Clever, Quirky

About the show

FPA Theatre presents C.S. Lewis’ classic theological fantasy; some of Lewis' most provocative and fiercely funny characters take a day trip from Hell to Paradise—a trip that leaves no one unchanged. More…

The story takes you to the outskirts of Heaven where the decision to stay or return to the familiar 'Grey Town' below proves to be harder than imagined. Over a dozen witty characters tell this fantastical morality tale about human choices. On the bus is a man who is going to Heaven to demand his 'rights', a woman who can't stop grumbling, a gentleman who 'likes' Heaven but staying there means giving up his precious pet lizard, and a carpetbagger who has seen it all and believes Heaven and Hell are just a propaganda stunt run by the same people. As each ghost is welcomed by a celestial spirit, the choice of staying or going back brings vivid clarity to the 'great divorce' between Heaven and Hell.


"Under the assured direction of Bill Castellino, three extremely talented actors play 19 characters among them, making them distinct and fully dimensional...'The Great Divorce' is a very theatrical staging of some deeply provocative questions. After you have forgotten the spectacular visuals, the play will leave you with much serious matter to think about." Full Review

Theatre Reviews Limited

"This adaptation is both pedantic and proselytizing. That does not mean it is less than successful. It simply means that the production feels preachy...The producers transform Lewis’s theological fantasy into an unapologetic sermon. The three actors tackle the play with zeal and bring authenticity and believability to the twenty-something characters…Bill Castellino directs the adaptation with a keen eye for detail and keeps the action moving." Full Review

The New York Times

"This all makes sense in 'The Great Divorce'...At least it does after a few puzzling, artistically pretentious early scenes in the Fellowship for Performing Arts’ infinitely thought-provoking production...Three strong performances and Bill Castellino’s direction leave us challenged to understand Lewis’s mind but with enough well-formed hints to be consistently intriguing." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"Lewis has some amusing and thought-provoking surprises up his sleeve...But 'The Great Divorce' is really a tract disguised as a novel; there is a distinct absence of drama here, and one begins to long for it...More damagingly, the director, Bill Castellino, has outfitted the production with an excess of technology...Oddly here, matters of the soul are upstaged by technical finesse." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

"Regardless of what theological implications the play provides, or the degree to which you’re interested in hearing arguments favoring Heaven over Hell, you may discover that 'The Great Divorce' simply lacks enough tension to hold your focus. The characters are too unreal, and seeing them all portrayed by the same actors only serves to heighten the churchy didacticism. 'The Great Divorce' can certainly be considered theatrical, but it’s a far cry from being dramatic." Full Review

Front Row Center

"Lewis’s text is riveting, as text...As drama, this work is not so riveting. It is a narration with a story line that is flimsy at best – what will our narrator choose? His fate, however, is not as intriguing as the stories that he and we witness. I can understand why someone would want to put this tale up on the stage, but to place it there without a dramatic hook waters down the premiss. As a result this play is more of a travelogue through Lewis’s philosophy than a drama that sticks to you... Full Review

Macaroni Kid

for a previous production "Three talented actors play 17 different characters. The beautiful sets and projections add to the emotion of this tale told within a dream. Adapter and director Max McLean does a short 'talk-back' at the end and allows opportunities for questions about the play. Be sure and stay for this discussion." Full Review

Charleston City Paper

for a previous production "As I left the theater, theater-goers talked heaven and hell. As I walked to the parking deck, they talked about the play’s merits and faults. If art is supposed to be beautiful, this production of 'The Great Divorce' is certainly art. And if art is meant to stimulate discussion, to make you think, to make you wonder and talk to your neighbor about your doubts and fears, then I have to admit: 'The Great Divorce' is certainly art." Full Review

The Washington Post

for a previous production "The cinematic style nicely frames the parade of character studies. Bit by bit, Lewis’s argument comes into sharp relief in a show that is blessedly free of finger-wagging. The project does presuppose an audience interested in a literary mode of religious explanation, and to judge by the rapt crowd at Saturday afternoon’s largely full performance, 'Divorce' is reaching its congregation." Full Review

DC Theatre Scene

for a previous production "Aside from minor flaws the text is funny and provocative, the performances are first-rate, and the technical work is spot-on. Obviously, not everyone who reads this review is a Christian, and although Lewis’ raison d’être, in this and other works, is to make Christianity plain to all, this meditation on good and evil, on virtue and vice, and, particularly, on smugness, will have value to practitioners of all religions, and of none." Full Review

Enchanting, Great writing, Profound, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if you like to be challenged. Very deep & profound. Lewis at his best.

Don't see it if want light and fluffy. Very deep play. Sometimes hard to follow. Nof for everyone.

Entertaining, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you are familiar with and like C.S. Lewis and if you enjoy humor with your religion.

Don't see it if you get dizzy with moving graphics in the background or if you don't enjoy theater exploring Christianity.

Absorbing, Confusing, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a fan of CS Lewis' writings

Don't see it if You are against religion

Ambitious, Intelligent, Profound, Quirky, Thought-provoking

See it if You are excited about a play that focuses exploring and illustrating a philosophical point of view. Ideas interest you.

Don't see it if Philosophy bores you.

Confusing, Cliched, Delightful, Enchanting, Funny

See it if You need to chuckle

Don't see it if With indigestion

Confusing, Disappointing, Dizzying, Excruciating, Slow

See it if you are interested because you read the book; you like philosophy, strange and boring plays

Don't see it if you're looking for a fun play. This play was hard to follow, uber weird and I had no interest.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You enjoy a unique trip as you enjoy actors playing many roles. I hope this show comes back!

Don't see it if If you don't like slightly fantastical Sequences and multiple characters

Clever, Entertaining, Great acting, Must see

See it if Did not see

Don't see it if Did not see yet

Clever, Interesting

See it if In this fantasy everyone is affected by its plot- no stone is left unturned but the show didn't feel relevantly modern. Absorbing though

Don't see it if You don't like the author of this play

Confusing, Disappointing, Excruciating, Overrated, Quirky

See it if Your looking for a deep play

Don't see it if Your looking for fun or a musical. It was strange.

For a previous production
Banal, Slow

See it if H

Don't see it if G

Cast & Creatives (12)