Art and religion come to life in the “Living Last Supper,” the story of Jesus Christ’s disciples, which will be presented April 12 and 13 by Millville United Methodist Church.
The one-hour performance begins with Jesus revealing that one of his disciples will betray him. The men are startled into the pose of Leonardo da Vinci’s 1498 painting “The Last Supper.”
One by one, each of the apostles tells his story, about life beforehand and how Jesus personally impacted them. Audiences will hear their regrets and the moments that moved them.
“It explains to the people what the people went through when they met Jesus, … plus after he was crucified,” said Joe Skinner, who plays Phillip.
“It humanizes the character we’re playing. It brings them to life,” said Rich Spina, who plays Andrew.
His character talks about finding the boy with two fish and five loaves of bread, which came to feed the congregation on the mountain.
Each character tells his story, based directly from Bible verse, but in simpler language. These are brief tales, unlike a movie adaptation of a novel that attempts to add filler.
MUMC has performed the show for about five years, using both all-men and all-women casts.
“Basically, it’s all about keeping Jesus in the center of Easter,” said director Marianne Smith. “I mean, the Easter Bunny’s great, and eggs are great, but Jesus is the reason.”
“It makes the whole Last Supper come to life. I feel so much closer to the painting,” said Bob Heird, who plays Simon Peter.
“We’re telling what has happened in our life when we decided to follow Jesus. … Our lives are brought forward from beginning to end,” said Donald Maeby, who plays Simon the Zealot.
Most suffered martyrs’ deaths afterward. Most would do it again, too, according to the story.
Regarding Judas’ story, Smith simply said, “I hope you come, because he’ll bring you to tears.”
The cast encouraged everyone with curiosity about the apostles or questions about the Easter Holy Week to attend.
Shows are at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, April 12 and 13. Performances include hymn singing, prayer and communion. The hour-long event is free, but love offerings are welcome.
Millville U.M. Church is located at the corner of Route 26 and Club House Road. The address is 36405 Club House Road, Millville.