The setting is present day South America. The star? A modern day Jesus Christ.
Arthur Miller’s “Resurrection Blues” is the Department of Communication and the Arts’ last production for the spring 2012 semester. The play is a satire piece that tells the theoretical story of what would happen if the son of God were to appear in today’s society.
The play paints the picture of a power-hungry dictator, Felix Barriaux played by junior Phil Baker, about to crucify a man who has performed a series of miracles and is rumored to be the second coming of Christ. The dictator sells the rights for the crucifixion to be documented for an American reality television show just as his cousin, Henri Schultz, played by junior Quemars Ahmed, tries to stop him.
“What it becomes is this debate about society,” said Ahmed. “Why, in the 21st century, would it even be possible that someone would film a crucifixion? It sounds ghastly and absurd, but think of all the other stuff that’s on TV right now.”
Senior Megan Hanson, who plays Jeanine Shultz, a failed rebel who tried to commit suicide but was saved by the Christ figure, believes that the play has a sense of accuracy to its criticism.
“It really depicts how fallen our society is,” Hanson said. She said also sees her character as relatable to Mary Magdalene in the sense that she builds a tight relationship with the God-like savior.
Senior Jennifer Graham-Macht, who is the stage manager, sees “Resurrection Blues” as a personal reflection of the weight of faith.
“I see it as this everlasting question in my brain about what does it mean to have a religious figure and to believe in somebody,” Graham-Macht said. “What is the strength of believing in somebody?”
With this play, Director Professor Deirdre Yates wanted to incorporate another dimension to help the audience leave with a different and exciting experience.
“We tried to integrate a lot of multimedia to it that’s not called for in the script,” Yates said. “It’s just that to me [the play is] a lot about our media-saturated society.”
According to Yates, the multimedia in the play includes “live feed camera work, some video [and] some screens.” She also sees “Resurrection Blues” as “a great way for people to look at Arthur Miller in a different way than ‘Death of a Salesman,'” since her version of “Resurrection Blues” is more “modern.”
“Resurrection Blues” runs April 26-28 at 8 p.m. and April 29 at 2 p.m. at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.
In addition to the show on Friday, April 27, there will be a talk back session with Yates, Dr. Charles Carter and Professor Anthony DePalma about whether or not today’s society is prepared for the return of Jesus Christ.
Tiffany Do can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org