Schuster Theatre preps for ‘Lazarus Laughed’

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Life is filled with fears. A man named Lazarus, however, doesn’t seem to be afraid of anything. He simply laughs them away.
Join this man on his journey of laughter with Gannon University’s Schuster Theatre’s production of “Lazarus Laughed.”
Written by Eugene O’Neill, this play travels back in time to a period of life when people feared the unknown and doubted any new faith that arose.
Although a tragedy, this play does have a light at the end of the tunnel.
Along with never-ending laughter, audiences will admire mysterious costumes, witness elaborate fight scenes, play along with participation activities and maybe even answer their own questions and doubts of faith and fear.
In the play, Lazarus of Bethany has been raised from the dead by Jesus.
Upon his return to our world, he exclaims, “There is only life! There is no death!” to all who can hear, gaining him both followers and enemies.
However, his resurrection has caught the attention of Rome and its callous emperor, Tiberius.
He is convinced Lazarus is a supernatural demon who has discovered the secret to immortality, but is refusing to share.
To add to Tiberius’ frustration, Lazarus laughs when his family, wife and followers begin to die.
How far will Tiberius go to achieve the answer to immortality? What will Lazarus do to prove that death is dead, and Jesus is the true messiah?
Cast member Kendra Walker, who plays Miriam, Lazarus’s wife, said each character has their own fear to conquer.
“Mine, I believe, fears of being lonely, as she sees all her family and friends die before her,” Walker said. “But her husband, Lazarus, only laughs at it, because he knows there isn’t really anything to fear.”
Walker also stated how each character has his or her own personal struggles, and the audience will have a chance to see how differently each handles it.
“Lazarus seems to be the only one who has it all figured out,” she said.
Although the cast list is small, director Alaina Manchester has used this to her advantage by creating elaborate masks significant to each individual character.
All the characters, except Lazarus, wear a mask to hide their true identities. Audiences will be able to join the fun with their very own mask as well.
With numerous deaths throughout the play, this director was sure to make them interesting.
“So much choreography has been learned to keep the deaths realistic and safe, but also catching to the eye,” assistant stage manager Molly Cooke said.
Audiences will also enjoy the opportunity to act with the cast.
A projection screen will be provided, listing lines for the audience to chant along with the characters.
“It’s like going to your favorite music artist’s concert,” said Allie Leng, who plays the seductive character named Pompeii. “You can sing along with our lines like you would for Fallout Boy or Taylor Swift.”
“Lazarus Laughed” begins on Wednesday, Feb. 17, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 21.
It will be the Schuster Theatre’s next-to-last production of the season being followed by “Evita” in April.
For more information on show times and admissions visit the Gannon Schuster Theatre Facebook page.

LAUREN SOVISKY
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