It’s 1905 in Russia. A group of five revolutionaries are plotting to assassinate The Grand Duke, Sergei Alexandrovich. Their plans don’t go as they expect when their group faces its own conflicts, making them contemplate the consequences their actions could bring. This is what you will see in Ben Lenox’s senior theatre project, “The Just Assassins,” at 8 p.m. this Saturday in Alford Auditorium.
The idea for the project came from a Directing II class Lenox took where he had to pick a scene from a play and perform it.
“I saw this play titled ‘The Just Assassins’ and I thought that’s got to be a pretty cool play,” Lenox said. “It’s got ‘assassin’ in the title.”
While reading “The Just Assassins,” originally written by French playwright Albert Camus in 1949, Lenox realized that the play was much more than just an interesting name.
“It’s very deep,” Lenox said. “It makes you think a lot, challenges your beliefs and what you think is right and wrong.”
Lenox, along with his crew and cast started working on the project two weeks after the beginning of this semester. Lenox stars as the main character, Yanek, while the rest of the cast, consisting of four actors, play dual roles.
“All five of us play an assassin and then in the fourth act, there are four other characters that visit my character and they play each one of those characters, as the four assassins aren’t in that scene,” Lenox said.
Lenox also shortened the play to an hour and fifteen minutes, cutting out what he felt was repetitious while also maintaining the truth behind the story.
“It puts a face to assassins,” said Chad Smith, a junior audio production major who plays the roles of Stepan and Skouratov. “It’s not just people who kill. These people have dreams, hopes and fears.”
The play has more meaning than just making the audience think, as all of the characters except Stepan are based on real historical figures.
“There’s definitely a certain responsibility to playing real characters,” said Madison Hart, a sophomore theatre major, who plays the roles of Dora and the Grand Duchess. “It makes you a lot more accountable as an actor to try and understand what they were really like, what they wanted and how they really responded.”
While many plays are more lighthearted and comedic, “The Just Assassins” is more than just entertainment, with its emotional script and in-depth characters.
“I think as Christians, we deal with some of the same things that they deal with like why we believe what we believe and how far will we go to pursue those beliefs and to follow Christ,” said Heather Barker, senior theatre major and co-director of the play. “I think it parallels with how far they’re willing to go with getting rid of oppression in Russia and what they’re willing to do. It’s a good show to come see because there are so many parallels to our Christian beliefs and their beliefs.”