MORRIS – Even as a seasoned high school actor and speech member, nothing could of prepared Dylan Obrachta to play Jesus as he carries his cross down the aisle between the pews at First Presbyterian Church of Morris, let alone spending almost the entire play "nailed" to it in front of the altar.
"I initially thought when they asked me that it was just a skit like we do at First Christian Church where I attend, but then i read the script and realized it was an entire play," Obrachta, a senior at Morris Community High School said. "I was concerned initially, but after watching videos and reading it over and over I'm just nervous a little bit now."
The First Presbyterian Church of Morris will be performing the play Maundy Thursday, as it has in some previous years.
The church hopes to have the same overwhelming response it has had each year as it puts on different performances of the last day's of the life of Jesus Christ.
As Obrachta hangs on the cross, other actors portray people from the Bible who had interactions with Jesus throughout his life, such as his mother, Mary, the sister of one of the criminals hanging next to Jesus and a centurion who purchased Jesus' purple robe.
The play which has been performed before has variations to this year's version including Christ's words from the cross.
Playing the role of Jesus is very different for Obrachta, he said.
"With every other character I've played I've been able to put a dash of Dylan in, or improvise if I trip up on a line," he said. "You can't improvise Jesus, you can't give him a dash of Dylan."
The play is brought to life by the dramatic lighting that dims and brightens as each person enters and starts to speak, the choir playing singing in between each actor.
After the lights dim for the last time, Jesus is taken from the cross by some of the other actors and carried down the center aisle to his "grave".
Cheryl Roth who directs the play said the event is open to anyone who would like to attend and the church encourages those from other churches to come to view the Maundy Thursday performance.
"The Living Last Words" was written by Ruth Elaine Schram, as a musical drama for Holy Week. It is based on Jesus’ Seven Last Words from the Cross. All attention is focused on Jesus, as 6 biblical characters share how their lives were touched by Jesus.
There will be a fellowship coffee hour following the drama. Nursery service will be provided.
If You Go
What: The play, “The Living Last Words”
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday April 13
Where: First Presbyterian Church of Morris, 200 E. Jackson St.