NORWICH – Religion is a big deal - or not - and changing to please your partner’s family is a bad idea in the original play that a group of Norwich High School students presented last week in the school’s auditorium.
“The Last Supper,” produced by teacher Richard Bernstein’s drama class, features a present-day couple facing the end of their seven year-long relationship during a Lenten Friday meal whilst flashbacks from earlier periods demonstrate conflict with Jacob’s conventional mother and, ultimately, each other. Comic relief offered by an earnest waiter and witty word play reminiscent of Oscar Wilde lightens the personal introspection and heavy religious overtones.
“It’s the first time a class play had a really strong ending,” Bernstein proudly said afterward, referring to the annual play that all of his drama class students are required to create and perform at the end of the term.
While Grady Thompson, as the very funny, but steadfast Jacob, has the last line, the play kept the audience interested and left them wondering whether his girlfriend, Sarah - played by the angry conformist Breanna Guiffre - will actually walk out of their relationship for good this time. Sarah left twice before after being humiliated by Jacob’s incredibly rude mother, Joan (played by Tori Russell).
To the backdrop of a sudden, Hell-fire in the restaurant’s kitchen, Jacob says: “Sarah, you walk away from everything. But I’m here. I’m always here. You always come back.”
Jacob’s devotion to Sarah and tolerance of her unhappiness evokes a more mature relationship, that of a married couple experiencing mid life crises. Sarah wants to take a break to “clear her head” and make the most of the next eight months before what she fears could be the end of the world, if the Mayan 2012 prophesy is correct. She has changed her life for Jacob and wants to take some time now to “find out who I am and not who you and I were” before the end of the world creeps up on her.