Practical Evil

When a violent encounter with a creepy, conservative conspiracy theorist results in his death, a group of liberal master’s students decide to better the world by killing those they deem to be a potential danger. . . which happens to be those who disagree with their way of thinking.  This is The Last Supper and it is currently playing at Bellevue Little Theatre under the auspices of SNAP! Productions.

After two years, SNAP! returns to live theatre with a pretty dark and disturbing play by Dan Rosen.  This had actually been a movie and is a combination of a grislier version of Arsenic and Old Lace and the living out of the question, “Would you kill a young Hitler when he was innocent in order the prevent the horrible atrocities he would later commit?”  Rosen has a good grip on the current political climate and his play is actually an interesting commentary on the dangers of political extremism across all spectrums.

That being said, the script is weakened a bit by its lack of character development, dearth of sympathetic characters, and an ambiguous ending (though this becomes less so if you follow the clues.  Here’s a hint.  They’re all visual, so pay close attention.  Happy hunting!)

Todd Brooks has a tremendous sense of atmosphere as he bookends the play between a pair of thunderstorms which well represent the violence of the material and the moment.  He also does an excellent job with the subtlety of the final scene.  Brooks also has led his performers to fairly effective performances, especially with the victims who are the most compelling characters in the show.

Strong ensemble performances come from Dennis Stessman who exudes a cold and palpable menace as the creepy truck driver who gets the victim train going.  Don Harris provides some needed levity as the sheriff.  Randy Wallace is oblivious to his own hypocrisy as the man of God who has a horribly warped view on the horror of AIDS and perceives homosexuality as a disease.  Chloe Irwin is a blend of naivete and arrogance as a high schooler suing her school due to a belief that mandatory sex education is an invasion of her privacy.

As I stated earlier, there is a great lack of character development in the show.  As such, it’s hard to delineate the performances of the primary characters as they simply are what they are.  The only thing that seems to differentiate them is their degree of bloodlust.  The worst of them is willing to kill at the drop of a hat while the best of them comes to realize just how monstrous the group has become.

Roz Parr’s Jude is the primary character that gets the most character development.  At first, she is keen to get in on the killings and is one of the first to suggest eliminating those who don’t adhere to the groupthink.  But she is also the one who truly realizes how corrupted they have become through their heinous acts.  Parr really shines when the focus isn’t on her as her visceral reactions show how appalled and horrified she has become as the murders get easier, but the “crimes” justifying them get significantly minor.

Chris Scott does exemplary work with Norman Arbuthnot.  A conservative pundit in the vein of Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity, Scott’s Arbuthnot is used primarily in interstitials promulgating more and more outlandish bilge until a chance meeting leads to him having dinner with the students where he seems to be a much more reasonable person.  He freely admits that a lot of what he says is just schtick to get attention onto a subject he cares about and almost convinces the students that there is room for differing opinions.  But just when he has you convinced he’s decent, he pulls an act that shows he fully buys his own hype which Scott handles with smarmy aplomb.

Sarah Kolcke has designed a very warm and welcoming home with a comfortable living room and kitchen which serves as a stellar counterpoint to its cold occupants.  Joey Lorincz should win an award for these lights especially with the lightning, the use of shadow, and use of spotlights on silent actors.  Daena Schweiger does some nifty A/V work with the use of the intros for the shows of several conservative pundits as well as her original creation of an intro for Arbuthnot’s show.  Connie Lee’s costumes are natural and suitable to the characters.

Act I felt pretty rough and almost like a rehearsal.  Cue pickups were very loose and the acting in the aftermath of the first death lacked a needed shock and intensity.  In Act II, the conversations felt a lot more natural and in tune with the ever-increasing stakes of the situations.

In the end this show takes a pretty absurdist look at the dangers of extreme political thought, but it also points out the very real threat posed by those who close their minds instead of truly opening up to discuss and debate our differences in order to reach a place of true understanding.

The Last Supper plays at Bellevue Little Theatre under SNAP!’s auspices through July 24.  Showtimes are 7:30pm Thursday and Friday and Sunday at 2pm.  Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased at the BLT Box Office or by visiting www.snapproductions.com.  Due to strong language and mature subject matter, this show is not suitable for children.  Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission St in Bellevue, NE.

After Two Years, SNAP! is Back with “The Last Supper”

Omaha, NE– The second event in the “SNAP! @ Large” Series is the stage version of the 1995 film The Last Supper. Adapted for the stage by the screenwriter himself, Dan Rosen, this play will have its Omaha premiere and will mark the first full production for SNAP! in two years.

The Last Supper is a dark and fiercely witty comedy set in a small Iowa town. The story follows a group of liberal grad students and their well meaning descent into murder.

Would you play God if you could? It’s 1921. You’re in a bar. In Vienna, Austria. You’re sitting across from a young man, his name is Adolf Hitler. He hasn’t done anything inherently evil. . . yet. But he will. You know he will. He might even start a world war, one day. So… Do you kill him? Do you kill him because you know you can save all those millions of innocent people? Do you kill him because, deep in your soul, you know you’re doing the right thing? It’s a question that has been posed by many, but what would happen if you and a group of friends actually decided to take a conviction so far that the lines of right and wrong get blurred? Would you play God if you could?

Directed by Todd Brooks and boasting a cast of veteran actors: Christopher T. Scott, Kerron Stark, Ethan Dragon, Roz Parr, Breanna Mack, Adam Bassing, Dennis Stessman, Randy Wallace, Kaitlin Maher, Jared Dominguez, JJ Davis, Mary Beth Slater, Don Harris and Chloé Irwin. The Last Supper is a funny and fascinating look at human nature, conviction, creative gardening, politics and hypocrisy of the highest sort. The production staff includes Brian Callaghan (Stage Manager), Sarah Kolcke (Set Design), Connie Lee (Costume Design), Daena Schweiger (Audio – Visual Design / Producer), Joey Lorincz (Lighting Design), Joey Hartshorn (Property Design), Gary Planck (Food Wrangler) and Seth Maisel (Fight Choreographer). The Last Supper will run for three weeks, from July 8 – 24, 2022 at Bellevue Little Theater located at 203 W. Misison Street. Ticket prices are $35 with discounts for students, military and seniors. Curtain times are 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday; 2:00 pm on Sundays. The theater opens a half hour before showtime. For tickets or more information, the public is invited to visit www.SnapProductions.com.

SNAP! is Back and Needs Some Guests for Supper

SNAP! Productions Proudly Announces Auditions for:

The Last Supper
by Dan Rosen

Auditions for The Last Supper will be held at HR Block (7013 Maple) on April 24 @ 1:00 pm and April 25 @ 7:00 p.m. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

Rehearsal Dates: May 23 – July 7, 2022

Production Dates: July 8 – 24, 2022
Friday / Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Production Location: Bellevue Little Theatre

COMPENSATION
Onstage roles for this production will be compensated $300 in total.

Video only roles for this production will be compensated $100 in total.

SYNOPSIS
The Last Supper follows a group of liberal-minded roommates and their well-meaning descent into murder. After a dinner party goes wrong and their guest ends up unexpectedly slain after a violent political debate, the group decides that this can be their way of changing the world and making a difference…one unreasonable conservative at a time.

Unless noted in the script, all roles are open to all ethnicities.

The show will be directed by Todd Brooks.

For a list of roles and downloadable sides please visit our website
www.snapproductions.com