“Shadowlands” sheds light on love and loss

As the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, the nation begins to reflect on the past year. A theater group in Kodiak has found their form of therapy in their production of ‘Shadowlands,’ the award-winning play by William Nicholson, which will be traveling to Anchorage for performances at the end of September.

‘Shadowlands’ has been a success in Kodiak since its debut in November 2001. All but one of the locally done performances were sold out.

‘It was so well received, we wanted to share it again,’ said Marius Panzarella, a surgeon at Providence Alaska Medical Center who plays the lead role of C.S. Lewis in the production.

‘There”s almost a hunger for it,’ said Sylvia Panzarella, producer of the play and Marius” wife. Sylvia also has a small role in the play as an English nurse.

Director Gary Stevens is an Alaska state representative for Kodiak. He has taught at UAA and the Kodiak extended campus, and he has been involved in theater for many years.
‘This play is very meaningful, it really touches people,’ Stevens said. ‘It deals with the loss of someone you love. How do you handle that?’

The play focuses on the true love story of British author C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham, an American poet. ‘Shadowlands’ was adopted by Hollywood in 1993 starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis and Debra Winger as Gresham.

‘C.S. Lewis loved to laugh,’ said Marius, ‘but the movie did not present that.’
The Kodiak production contains serious issues as well as a bit of humor, and confronts questions about love and loss.

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‘This is what it can do, it can touch people the way other things can”t,’ Marius said.
Sylvia added, ‘There”s been an amazing reaction from the audience, it helps them deal with their fears.’

‘Shadowlands’ will be presented in Anchorage Sept. 26-29 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are available online at www.tickets.com or by calling 1-800-GR8-SEAT.