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Paynesville Press - March 27, 2002

Church to present the passion play on Easter Sunday

By Michael Jacobson

Last Supper To celebrate Easter Sunday, Crystal Hills Assembly will present a dramatic performance of the Easter story, called The Living Last Supper.

Jesus (Josh Zwiefel) talks with disciple Shane Schmidt, left, and Pastor Darren Olson, right, during a scene depicting the Last Supper.

The performance will be given on Sunday, March 31, at 7 p.m. Crystal Hills Assembly is located nearly five miles east of Paynesville along Highway 55.

The drama picks up the Easter story, as told in the Bible, during the Last Supper (also known as the Lord's Supper). It then follows Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemane, to his betrayal by Judas, and to his arrest by Roman soldiers. It continues with Jesus being brought before Pontius Pilate, with his being beaten at the hands of soldiers, with him carrying his cross to Calvary, his crucifixion, and his rising on Easter morn.

"We're telling the Easter story from the Last Supper to the resurrection through narration and music," said Gladys Schaumann, music coordinator at Crystal Hills Assembly, who raised the idea to do the dramatic presentation.

Gladys and her husband, Roger, moved to Paynesville two and a half years ago after living in California for over 20 years. Their church in Northern California did a similar presentation.

The idea to do it here started to grow in Gladys' mind after Easter a year ago. When she approached the congregation at Crystal Hills, she got lots of support and participation, which she both appreciates and enjoys, feeling the camaraderie of working together makes it fun.

She also got a lot of help at home, since her family had seen a similar performance in California. Roger and their daughters - Becky and Katie - made the props, and Gladys organized and sewed the costumes.

Gladys started looking for a script and ended up using a quarter of the final version from a source and writing the remaining three-quarters using the Bible.

Jesus (Josh Zwiefel), Pontius Pilate (Marcus Nettz), and the narrator (Roger Schaumann) have the main speaking parts in this dramatic version. In order to make it easy for the other actors and actresses to participate, speaking parts were kept to a minimum. The cast had its first practice over the weekend, a little more than a week before the performance.

Their passion play also features three songs, with soloists Cindy Zimmerman and Maisa Olson.

Biblical stories, like the Easter story, may seem old, but Schaumann hopes the dramatic performance of the Easter story will dispel any notions of disbelief to its authenticity. The performance should offer a flesh-and-blood perspective on the ancient story. "It makes it real," Schaumann explained. "It makes it come alive."

"The scene with the disciples and Jesus makes them human," she continued. "It helps us relate to them and reminds us what he did for us."

Fittingly, Jesus' crucifixion and his resurrection - crucial elements of the Easter story - are the most moving parts of the drama, according to Schaumann.

"When (Jesus) comes out of the tomb, it's so moving," she said. "As much as I've seen it, it still grabs you. It's just triumphant."

Schaumann already has plans to expand the Easter production next year, possibly adding more details of the Biblical story and more speaking parts.

Cast of Characters
Disciples: Jeff Miller, Greg Wellens, Pastor Lonnie Gleitz, Shane Schmidt, Todd Fenske, Tim Miller, Bob Mrozek, Doug Miller, Chad Warmbold, Dexter Kingsriter, Kyle Hacklander, and Pastor Darren Olson
Barabas: Johnnie Olson
Crossbearer: Brent Olson
Soldiers: T.J. Schultz and Jared Johnson
Pilate: Marcus Nettz
Jesus: Josh Zwiefel
Mary: Jamie Miller
Soloists: Cindy Zimmerman and Maisa Olson
Narrator: Roger Schaumann
Lights: Steve Olson
Sound: Dennis Zimmerman
Keyboard: Gladys Schaumann

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