URBANA — University of Illinois students will present the medieval "Play of Antichrist" on Friday and Saturday at the McFarland Memorial Bell Tower on the UI's south quadrangle.
Director Kyle A. Thomas and his cast and crew are trying a style of performing historical (in this case, medieval) plays that provides the actors and the audience opportunities to maintain a 21st century context while experiencing a 12th century text — something Thomas calls "contextual layering."
The play focuses on issues of power and politics in a global setting and the role of religion in international relations. Armed with a new translation of the play, the first one in more 50 years, by Carol Symes, a UI professor of history, the "production of the 'Play of Antichrist' is not a dusty, stuffy, outdated religious play but a chance to explore how far our modern society has come in 900 years and how little things have changed in that time as well," Thomas said in a news release.
Performed as a part of the "Performing the Middle Ages" symposium hosted by the UI's Program in Medieval Studies and funded in part by a planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, "The Play of Antichrist" is free and open to the public.
The performances will be at 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.