EMU Homepage

Theater Goes Biblical with J.B.


A performance that revolves around “unanswered problems of a man’s relationship to God in an era of cruel injustices,” J.B., will grace the Lee E. Eshleman Studio Theater as part of Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) theater departments studio series.

Performances are Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

"This is not a dark, drag you down sort of play," said Huber. "One thing I find beautiful and extraordinary about MacLeish's text is the way he weaves humor and tragedy together...He sets the entire action inside a circus, taking 'all the world's a stage' literally." J.B. opens in the studio theater Friday, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Photo featuring Elizabeth Gannaway. Photo by Lindsey Kolb.

Alisha Huber, who directs the Archibald MacLeish play, said J.B. reflects the biblical book of Job. “Job rejects easy answers; it trashes the gospel of wealth; it destroys our rational universe,” said Huber. “As we’ve worked on J.B., all of us have examined our own experiences with trauma and found the deep truth in the play…It avoids cliches about death and suffering, choosing an intense and human honesty instead.”

Published in 1958, J.B. tells the story of a twentieth-century American banker who God allows to be stripped of his family and wealth but who refuses to turn his back on God. MacLeish weaves humor and tragedy together, setting the entire action inside of a circus and taking all the world’s stage literally, according to Huber.

“The emotions in J.B. are profoundly mixed, but MacLeish knows-as Shakespeare knew- that the way to make a tragedy work is to make it fun and funny in places, there is a real joy in this play and real suffering,” said Huber.


General admission tickets are $5, or $2 for EMU students, and are available through the theater department. Performances run 90 minutes with a 10-minute intermission.

Call 540-432-4674 or email theater@emu.edu.

Comments are closed.