Swallow The Sun: The Early Life of C. S. Lewis • A Play

Swallow The Sun: The Early Life of C. S. Lewis • A Play

by Mahonri Stewart

(Under license from Prospero Arts and Media)

C.S. “Jack” Lewis became an internationally renowned author, famed creator of Narnia, and the 20th Century’s most eloquent defender of Christianity. Little do most people know that he was once an entrenched atheist. This play by Kennedy Center award-winning playwright Mahonri Stewart recounts the powerful spiritual journey of the “most reluctant convert in all of England,” as he grapples with bold figures of faith like J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as a persistent god who hunts his soul relentlessly. Yet the worth of that soul is manifest in a struggle that will create a legendary legacy.

GENRES: Religious/Christian, Historical Drama, Comedy

CATEGORIES: Historical, Biographical Plays, Famous Authors, Faith and Spirituality, Christianity, 20th Century, World War I, Drama/Comedy.


CAST OF CHARACTERS –– 12 (3 f, 9 m +Fantasy/Memory characters)

  • C.S. “Jack” Lewis
  • Edward “Paddy” Moore
  • Janie Moore
  • Maureen Moore
  • John “Doc” Askins
  • Owen Barfield
  • Warren “Warnie” Lewis
  • Albert Lewis
  • Arthur Greeves
  • Mary “Smudge” Wibelin
  • Hugo Dyson
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Fantasy/Memory Characters: Most are non-speaking shadows. They could most likely be portrayed by 2-4 performers. 
    • A Fawn
    • Young Warnie — boy, speaking
    • Young Jack — boy, speaking
    • WWI Soldier
    • Schoolmaster
    • A White Stag
    • A Halfling
    • Puck
    • 2 Shadow Figures
    • Flora –– speaking
    • Nurse
    • A Figure
    • Bus Driver –– speaking
    • A Presence –– speaking
    • A Lion
  • RUN TIME: 2 hours
  • SETS: Several suggested locations
  • COSTUMES: Period and Fantasy
  • ORDER # 3311



“STEWART IS A MASTER WRITER of rich dialogue, clever and scintillating in the style of Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. This is a very good play, befitting a fascinating, worthy protagonist in the historical C.S. Lewis.” – Nan McCulloch, Irreantum Magazine

“THIS IS A PLAY BUILT ON THE TENSION  BETWEEN SPIRITUAL AND SECULAR APPROACHES TO LIFE. And the playwright pulls no punches … Stewart doesn’t gloss over such things but allows them to find their own level. He lets the audience decide what to think … I liked even more the notion that writers and playwrights are no longer giving us ‘dual versions’ of religious souls — one version where the subject can do no wrong and a ‘revisionist’ version where he or she sins at every turn. Artists have finally begun to offer us fully fleshed out, rounded portraits of spiritual souls.” – Jerry Earl Johnston, Deseret News

“STEWART ALSO HAS A DEEP KNOWLEDGE OF THE WRITINGS AND BIOGRAPHY OF C.S. LEWIS … This accuracy is an authorial choice that respects the people and that ultimately adds to the believable and unique characterization and setting of the plays.” – David Allred, AML Reviews

“WELL-WRITTEN, FUNNY, AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING … Swallow the Sun is a captivating journey from doubt to belief.” – Scott Hales, The Low-Tech World

“POWERFUL IMPACT … Despite being a conversion story, it tends towards the intersection of the intellect and the spirit rather than a repetition of the conventional narrative of personal conversion through warm feelings about historical propositions … [This play] spoke deeply to me … [as someone who] views my own faith through the lens of the perpetual tensions this exacerbates: tensions between secular and sacred, insider and exile, spiritual and intellectual, narrative and history. I think that I am far from alone in that category, however, and that there will be many more people for whom [this play] will resonate deeply.” – Nathaniel Givens, Times and Seasons

YOU WILL LAUGH, YOU WILL THINK, AND YOU WILL ENJOY IT … this play will stay with me for a long time.” – Jennifer Mustoe, Front Row  Reviewers

“INTRIGUING AND COMPELLING … The play has a fascination about it that holds the audience’s attention …the storyline is wonderful. Swallow the Sun is a play well worth seeing.” – Rodger Hardy, Deseret News


  • A copy of the PERUSAL SCRIPT (in PDF format) which contains Act One of the script of the play is available, (it also has an extensive Author’s Note.): Swallow The Sun PERUSAL
  • The PRINT VERSION of A ROOF OVERHEAD is published by PROSPERO ARTS AND MEDIA and is available on Amazon
. A great way to peruse the entire script for $12.00 HERE


(Any PDF purchased will be emailed to your email address — if you need to provide that to us (not the one on your PayPal account?), email us. CDs will be mailed to a snail mail address. Do not purchase rehearsal materials or pay for royalties until you have performance clearance.)

  • Script in PDF format  — Order #3311a : $40.00 (from which you will be authorized to copy for your production)

  • First Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #3311d : $90

  • Second Performance Amateur/Educational Royalty — Order #3311e : $80

  • Professional Royalties will be quoted upon application
  • EMAIL us for rights and information. Be sure to give us anticipated performance dates and the address of your group and, if different, your theatre. Please also include a contact name and phone number.


The following is how the credits should read in all programs, posters, fliers, handbills and other promotional advertising for the show:

Swallow The Sun: The Early Life of C.S. Lewis

Mahonri Stewart

NOTE: The names of the Playwright(s), Composer, Lyricist, and Bookwriter shall be equal in size, type, coloring, boldness, and prominence. No billing shall appear in type larger or more prominent than the billing to the Authors except for the title of the play. (In a press release all type, will of course, be the same size.)


SWALLOW THE SUN: THE EARLY LIFE OF C. S. LEWIS is presented through special arrangement with Leicester Bay Theatricals.  All authorized materials are also supplied by LBT, www.leicesterbaytheatricals.com”


  • Zion Theatre Company, Provo, UT, 2012
  • PREMIERE: New Play Project, Provo, UT, 2008

PHOTOS from the NEW PLAY PROJECT production:

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