This Saturday, the curtain will rise one last time under the direction of Decatur High School theatre director Lance Morse. He has served 10-1/2 years at the school, but the 7 p.m. performance in the high school theatre will be his 45th production, and his last.
Over the Christmas break, Morse accepted a job offer for MJM Creative. His last day as a teacher at DHS is Friday, Jan. 18. Before he leaves, he wants to direct one last performance with his students.
“I realized over Christmas break that shows are what we do, and I didn’t want to just leave,” Morse said. “I wanted us to have one more production together.”
The play he chose, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” is one he has been wanting to do for a long time.
“I think the story is really interesting,” Morse said. “I’m drawn to scripts that make you think from a perception that perhaps you haven’t thought of before.”
The play is the story of Judas and Jesus. It opens with Judas’ mother doing a monologue about her troubles and what her son is going through, and it closes with the final moments we see of both.
“What I like about it is, it takes the story and really humanizes the few facts we know about Judas,” Morse said. “It’s quite funny.”
He decided to do this play when returning from the break, so the cast had two weeks to rehearse.
“It’s grueling and tediously furious,” Morse said about the process. “They signed up, and I cast them according to who wanted to be involved.”
Rehearsals are every day after school and included a double rehearsal Saturdays and a single Sunday rehearsal before the one-time performance Saturday.
“It’s going to be a really pretty show,” Paige Dickinson, junior and theatre technician said. “We are his creations, and we will be the last generation of his creations.”
Morse knows it will be an emotional evening.
“We’ve worked together for a really long time to build this department and its reputation for productions, and it’s very difficult to know that’s coming to a close,” he said. “I love taking my craft and seeing them become compassionate about it; in that way I know my craft will carry on.”
For a look back at the various productions Morse directed at Decatur High School, visit www.thedecaturjournal.com.