Back Al­ley brings “Maundy Thurs­day,” a mem­ory play about Je­sus’ fi­nal days, for one week­end

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY -

Back Al­ley in­vites you to at­tend “Maundy Thurs­day,” a mov­ing mem­ory play about the fi­nal days of Je­sus of Nazareth as told by peo­ple clos­est to him. This pro­duc­tion has a lim­ited, one-week­end run with shows set for 7:30 p.m. Thurs­day, March 29 through Satur­day, March 31, with a 2:30 p.m. mati­nee on Satur­day, March 31.

Per­for­mances will be held at the His­toric Mars The­atre, 117 N. Chat­tanooga St., Lafayette. Visit www. BAPshows.com or call 706- 621-2870 to pur­chase your tick­ets.

Set in First Cen­tury Pales­tine (Is­rael), the world is in tur­moil. The Ro­man Em­pires rules over all of Judea, and the Jewish Peo­ple are di­vided. Out from all the vi­o­lence and un­cer­tainty comes Je­sus Christ, who claims to be the Son of God, and preaches about love and peace, and the King­dom of God.

Now, three years later, it’s the eve of Passover and ten­sions are crit­i­cally high af­ter Christ’s pop­u­lar­ity and mes­sage has threat­ened to shake up the nat­u­ral po­lit­i­cal or­der.

“This is not a liv­ing Last Sup­per of­ten per­formed through­out churches, but a whole ex­am­i­na­tion of the events, play­ers, and con­text lead­ing up to and di­rectly af­ter the Cru­ci­fix­ion of Je­sus,” ex­plains Kaylee Smith, di­rec­tor of the show. “The ac­tors will per­form and re­count mem­o­ries from sev­eral key mo­ments in Je­sus’ min­istry, in­clud­ing in­sights from Ni­code­mus, Mary of Bethany, The Woman at the Well, a Ro­man sol­dier, and the Twelve Dis­ci­ples, each bring­ing a unique per­spec­tive or lens on their ex­pe­ri­ence with Je­sus.”

As a mem­ory play, each char­ac­ter in­ves­ti­gates their own hu­man­ity: what it would be like to be a fol­lower of Christ dur­ing this his­tor­i­cally tur­bu­lent time, and how those sto­ries echo much of the ten­sion in our mod­ern world.

Smith adds: “What we’ve dis­cov­ered is that Jerusalem dur­ing the First Cen­tury A.D. is not all that dif­fer­ent then it is to­day.”

The pro­duc­tion is not strictly a scrip­tural read­ing, Smith notes, and al­lows for the ac­tors to ex­plore the his­tor­i­cal, so­cial, and per­sonal as­pects of their char­ac­ter, as well as the tri­umphs, ques­tions, and de­ci­sions be­hind their ac­tions.

“I think it’s im­pos­si­ble to come to the story of Christ with­out our own cul­tural as­sump­tions,” Smith adds. “Even a knowl­edge as ba­sic as know­ing how the story ends with the res­ur­rec­tion and as­cen­sion tends to di­min­ish the emo­tions that peo­ple must have felt Thurs­day night of Holy Week. Our goal is to make you for­get you’ve heard the story, and come to it with fresh eyes, and to hear it dra­mat­i­cally rather than through a church ser­vice, and to con­sider the set­ting and his­tory along­side the beloved story of Christ. We want to add a rich new layer to a well-told mes­sage.”

“We want you to walk away un­der­stand­ing how it may have felt to be an or­di­nary hu­man wit­ness­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary event, with lim­ited hu­man per­spec­tive, and only able un­der­stand­ing a few things their teacher was try­ing to tell them.

“At the same time hav­ing the knowl­edge of be­ing plot­ted against from within by one of their friends, to be­ing hunted by lead­ers of their faith, the group of peo­ple sur­round­ing Christ, with­out a doubt, were afraid for their lives.

“I think we for­get there was a tremen­dous amount of fear, tur­moil, and anx­i­ety. The fact they fell asleep in Geth­se­mane, tells us that they ex­pected a very dif­fer­ent night than what oc­curred. No one knew what was go­ing to hap­pen next, or what the ul­ti­mate out­come of Christ’s min­istry would be. To me, that has al­ways been a very af­firm­ing thing to ac­knowl­edge, that one minute these men ran, hid, and pro­tected them­selves, and then forty days later, they were will­ing to be mar­tyred to ful­fill the Great Com­mis­sion. That said, this is not a re­li­gious cer­e­mony, there is no par­tak­ing of com­mu­nion, or any al­tar calls, or a ser­mon, it is a stage play, and our ac­tors sim­ply tell the story.”

Maundy Thurs­day’s run time is ap­prox­i­mately 2.5 hours, in­clud­ing a 15-minute in­ter­mis­sion.

The cast of Back Al­ley Pro­duc­tion’s pre­sen­ta­tion of “Maundy Thurs­day” in­cludes, from left: Je­sus (Aaron Rapier), John (Jeremiah Rapier), Nathaniel (Kee­gan Wes­tra), Pe­ter (Zachary Green), Matthew (Alex Walker), James The Lesser (Caed­mon Wo­mack),...

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