El Paseo Arts hosts David Payne as ‘Churchill’ – Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Special to the PRESS

According to the El Paseo Arts Foundation [EPAF], a nonprofit which fuels the theatre community on South Padre Island, Americans seem to be fascinated by all things British. EPAF say that includes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth, and, of course, Sir Winston Churchill.

Evidence of the fascination with Churchill includes the 2017 war drama, “Darkest Hour,” starring Gary Oldman as Churchill in his early days as British prime minister of the U.K. More recently, actor John Lithgow’s portrayal of the famous politician during World War II in Netflix’s popular “The Crown,” and the 2021 TV series, “Churchill,” also support the aforementioned claim.

On  Tuesday  and  Wednesday, Sept. 19 and 20, 2023, EPAF begins its 19th Season of performing arts events with the one-man show “Churchill,” at the SPI Convention Center.  In this often funny, sometimes touching and always engaging one-man show, distinguished British actor David Payne gives audiences an opportunity to spend an evening with one of the world’s great historical figures.

The two-act show is set at a celebration dinner for Churchill, organized by a group of Americans after he became the first person to be granted an honorary U.S. citizenship. The official ceremony at the White House was two months earlier, but Churchill couldn’t attend due to health reasons.

“They’ve asked him to reflect on his life,” Payne explains. “Although he’s primarily known for his role in the Second World War, and most people want to know about that, he reflects on the years that led up to that and what prepared him for that role.”

Churchill was, because of his political life, a man often involved in American politics — and presidents.  Churchill met William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and of course Franklin D. Roosevelt, with whom he developed a strong friendship during the Second World War.  He also met Dwight D. Eisenhower and, of course, President Kennedy, who conferred on him the honorary citizenship, about which he said, “This honor is without parallel.”

The script also explores Churchill’s important relationships, such as with Queen Elizabeth, who took the throne during his tenure as prime minister.

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