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‘The Last Supper’

Church members re-create, expand on da Vinci’s painting

Richard Albrecht of Shorewood rehearses as his character Matthew for the upcoming play The Last Supper at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris.
Richard Albrecht of Shorewood rehearses as his character Matthew for the upcoming play The Last Supper at the First Presbyterian Church in Morris.

A Morris church is inviting the community to join its members Thursday evening for a drama event called, “The Last Supper.”

Members will duplicate the well-known Leonardo da Vinci oil painting of the same name. They will depict Jesus and his 12 disciples in their clothing and positions at the table, even using pottery goblets borrowed from the high school’s art department.

But the evening will be so much more than just a depiction of the painting. Each actor will also have his own time to convey what the drama’s writer thought might have been going through the mind of each disciple just after Jesus announced that one of them would betray him that night.

“Each actor tells the audience who they are and what their relationship to Jesus is,” explained church member Cheryl Roth. “They talk about their thoughts and wonder if it will be them who will betray Jesus. . . They ask, ‘Is it I?’”

“They tell us how they became one of the disciples,” drama director Faith Herout said, “and a little bit about their story. Jesus has just told them that someone is going to betray him.”

Herout is a schoolteacher in Oswego and has her college degree in music, with theatre and communications minors. She said the thoughts of one of the disciples, Thomas, really hit her.

He’s always thought of as Doubting Thomas, she said, but then you realize that he’s the one who always encourages everyone to go forward and to back Jesus. He really questions, she said, but then he’s confident about what to do.

Morris resident Geoff Dergo portrays James. The church has put on the drama before, and Dergo’s brother, George, played the same role a few years ago.

“I remembered a few lines of my part from when he was learning it,” Geoff said of his brother.

Dergo said the church’s dramas are always good. The last one they did was, “The Last Words,” which he described as awesome.

“I’m just trying to hang in there,” he said with a laugh.

He said, in the play, James tells of some of the miracles he had seen Jesus perform, including raising a man from the dead. In the painting of the last supper and in the church’s depiction, James is just to the right of Jesus, and his brother John is to the left of Jesus. Dergo said he has been enjoying rehearsing for the drama.

“I’m not finding it hard,” he said. “I’m actually enjoying it. It’s easy to get into the character because all the other guys are so good and so believable that it makes you want to do well, too.”

Dergo said the drama is not just about the disciples thinking about betrayal. It’s about all of us, too.

“We all fall into that – betraying Jesus – in our own hearts,” he said. “Is it really just Judas who betrays him, or is it us who betrays him in little ways?”

John Williamson, of Morris, has a heavy role in the drama. He plays Judas, the disciple who is really the one who betrays Jesus. It’s Williamson’s first time in a First Presbyterian drama. In fact, he is fairly new to the church, having been a member less than two years.

The script allows the audience to see how Judas might have seen his actions.

“It’s Judas’ view of how he had wanted Jesus to be more aggressive to take his place as Messiah,” Williamson said. “He tells you why he did what he did.”

Williamson said he hopes those who attend will take away the somberness of that night and why they have the faith that they do.

When you see them go through questioning whether they will be the one who betrays Jesus, Faith Herout said of the disciples, it makes us question our lives.

“How do we approach our lives with Jesus each day?” she said. “How do I see Jesus in my life?”

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