Seder’ closes three-night exploration of family life, religion, mental illness

Claire Brown and Claire Brown

Correction appended

“The Last Seder,” a play about four Jewish daughters who return home to sell their house when their father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, finished its three-night run Saturday to an over-sold audience at Shanley Pavilion.

“I could not be more proud or more pleased with the whole process,” said Allison Finn, the show’s director. “I was absolutely blessed with an amazing cast and an amazing production team.”

The show was produced by the Jewish Theatre Ensemble.

Putting “The Last Seder” together was a long process, Finn said. The Communication sophomore said JTE picked the show almost one year ago and seeing it come together in the last couple of weeks was her favorite part of the experience.

“To have the cast and the design team really bring so much more to it, it became not just my vision, but the vision of the entire design and production team,” she said.

Walls Trimble, who played Angel Price, the youngest daughter in the story, said she wished the show could run for at least another weekend.

“I had an incredible experience,” the Communication sophomore said. “It was a great opportunity to apply what I’ve been learning in acting class and see how that works in an actual production.”

One of the show’s biggest challenges was fitting the set in Shanley Pavilion because the space is small, Trimble said.

The play calls for a full five-bedroom home with a kitchen, den and entryway to be on stage at all times, Set Designer Kelsey Melvin said. She and Finn started meeting three months ago, the Communication junior said. Melvin made hand-sketched drawings, computer drawings and created a model of the set before building it, but she gives credit to her crew for the actual production of the set.

“It was fascinating to see it in full scale,” she said. “It was a magical feeling to know all these people were helping me create this idea that I had created in my head.”

Producer Katharine Nasielski said she received positive feedback on different aspects of the show, including the set. The piece exemplified modern Judaism and was medically accurate, the Weinberg junior said.

“I was very impressed with the piece in general,” said Communication junior Naomi Rosen, who attended the show. “What was so beautiful about it was that it established very real connections between the characters.”

She said she was moved by the show and walked away from it with the message that relationships with the people we love are the most valuable aspect of life.

“I really felt like I was watching a family,” Rosen said. “It was a beautiful, beautiful production.”

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Editor’s Note: An original version of this story stated in the headline and first paragraph that the show ran for five nights. It ran for three nights. The story also misquoted Alex Knell, a Communication senior, who was never interviewed. Instead, Walls Trimble was interviewed. THE DAILY regrets the errors.