The Stanhope United Methodist church in Netcong will once again host the popular living reenactment depicting Leonardo da Vinci's, The Last Supper. This dramatization, entitled, Lord, is it I? is a recreation of da Vinci's famous painting with thirteen living characters portraying Jesus and the twelve Apostles as they sit together wondering who will betray the group and their leader.
The painting was commissioned in 1494 to be painted on a wall in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. It was completed in 1498 and is one of the most admired, recognizable and iconic paintings in the world.
In the early 1950’s the Methodist minister,Ernest K. Emurian studied da Vinci’s inspiring picture and then proceeded to write the monologues for the twelve Apostles as they might have expressed themselves immediately after hearing Jesus announce, "One of you will betray me," whereupon each man exclaimed, "Is it I?" It is believed this was the moment da Vinci said he wished to capture in his famous painting. The meaning of the postures and expressions of each apostle has been the subject of much study and speculation over the years.
According to Emurian, this moving performance had its premier presentation at the Elm Avenue Methodist Church, in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Palm Sunday night, 1954. Since its publication, the play has been performed by many different groups around the country, and has been a source of inspiration to the many thousands who have seen it in person as well as on television during Holy Week.
It was first performed at the Netcong church during Holy week in 1988. Bruce Bristol, of Landing and Scott LeFurge, of Byram, the only original cast members, have served as the groups directors.
“It is a team effort. Organizing this performance and making it a success each year relies on many of us working together to see that costumes are secured, the set is assembled, the music and narration work together, and the table is set to reflect da Vinci’s painting, said Bristol.
The 12 players depicting the Disciples each deliver his own soliloquy expressing his thoughts and anguish about betraying their beloved leader and reflecting on his own life and relationship with Jesus.
“It is an amazing script and opportunity to hear the twelve Disciples tell their story,” said LeFurge. “It is like seeing and hearing the da Vinci painting come to life.”
The presentation of Leonardo da Vinci’s living Last Supper drama, Lord, Is it I? will be held at the Stanhope United Methodist church, #2 Route 183 in Netcong, on Thursday, March 31 at 7:30pm. The show is open to the public and is free of charge. For more information contact 973-347-0247