With Easter just around the corner, crowds gathered during the weekend to take in a visual reminder of what the holiday is about.
“The Living Last Supper,” a drama written by Dr. Ruth Vaughn and directed by Naomi Jantz, Minneola, depicts the last day of Jesus’ life.
The Bucklin Area Ministerial Alliance teamed with the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance to bring the performance back to Hays, which took place at Fort Hays State University’s Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center on Saturday and Sunday.
“She felt like God asked her to put on the drama and be a ministry to others,” Deanna Carrick said of Jantz, her mother. “It’s a fulfillment for her to do this as a ministry.”
Jantz said she and her husband, Orlando, who died a few years ago, wanted to take part in creating a discipleship among men, and that is how the show first began approximately 25 years ago.
“We wanted a community effort, and that’s how it developed — bringing community men together, from about five or six different churches and from all walks of life,” she said. “There’s only four women that participate, and the rest are men.”
The couple’s goal was to make a direct, spiritual impact on the actors, and to put on a performance that influenced the audience, as well.
“What it has done for the men in the drama is so amazing. You hear them share what God has done for them in their lives because of participating,” she said. “It has done so much for them, personally, and that’s what my husband and I wanted.”
The drama’s cast and staff represented several southwest Kansas churches from towns such as Bucklin, Cimmaron, Dodge City and Kingsdown.
Throughout the performance and during a concert beforehand, musical entertainment was provided by the Daybreak Quartet and professional concert pianist Greg Howlett, both from Atlanta.
Scenes surrounded events that took place around the time of Jesus’ death, including the upper room, the washing of feet, the last supper, Judas being revealed as a traitor, Jesus in the garden, and his resurrection from the tomb.
A unique feature was the two times actors depicting Jesus and his disciples froze into a still position, creating a visual representation of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of “The Last Supper.”
“I went to Fort Hays, so I think it’s great they are putting this on here,” said LoAnn McCray, Hays, who attended with her Christian singles group. “It’s good to get together with your brothers and sisters in the Lord.”
Carrick said she believed if someone in attendance did not have a relationship with God, this drama could enlighten them and open their eyes.
“It’s a good reminder around Easter of what God has done for us,” she said. “He did come to the world to save us from our sins, and that’s what this drama shows.”