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The trial of the new millennium is about to begin and Tampa Bay has been called for jury duty as Jobsite Theater revisits the play that put them on the area cultural map – horror guru Clive Barker’s The History of the Devil.
The History of the Devil takes place at the Devil’s parole hearing, where the audience attends as would-be jurors and are transported back in time via vignettes of testimony that illustrate the Devil’s actions throughout history. Notable appearances in the court and during flashbacks include Dante, Jesus Christ and Lilith.
Frequently fantastic, often grotesque, and chock full of wry humor in true Clive Barker style, this show’s ambitious scope and staging will celebrate ten years of Jobsite’s distinctive work in Tampa Bay as a cutting-edge theater company that creates compelling, adventurous and stimulating work.
In The History of the Devil, the prosecution argues that the Devil’s presence on Earth has had a disastrous effect on mankind, whereas the defense counters that the Devil is – and always has been – man’s greatest scapegoat. The Devil demands that he be found innocent and be released to return to Heaven.
Throughout the play, as we examine how the modern world views the archetypal battle between good and evil, we are faced with many core questions: Has the Devil wreaked havoc on Earth, or has he simply been an innocent observer of the human condition all these thousands of years? Does any being, no matter how terrifying it may seem, deserve an eternity of suffering? Does even the Devil eventually deserve Paradise?
“A mixture of Decline and Fall, Paradise Lost, Perry Mason and Flash Gordon.” – The Guardian
The History of the Historians
The History of the Devil was written in the early 1980s, and published in 1995 as part of a collection of plays called Incarnations. Clive Barker never intended the play to be published, originally writing it to be developed and performed by his own London theatre, The Dog Company, with himself as director and Doug Bradley (who would eventually gain fame as Pinhead in Barker’s Hellraiser films) as the Devil. Since 1995, the play has been performed all around the world, often resulting in banned productions in some cities that deemed the content “too blasphemous”. According to Clive Barker, The History of the Devil is a story best described as “John Milton meets John Grisham.”
Jobsite originally produced The History of the Devil in 1999. It was the third play they performed at TBPAC, while they still split time at Ybor’s Silver Meteor Gallery, with late night performances that took place at 10pm. Jobsite now performs exclusively at TBPAC, and in their eleventh year, they are boasting over 41% more season ticket holders than they did in 2007–08. The 1999 production of The History of the Devil averaged 134 attendees per performance, with lines wrapping around the corner of the building on many nights full of people hoping to get a ticket. It was Jobsite’s first major blockbuster.
“Garland plays the Devil with wonderful panache, dominating his scenes with such brio that you can almost forget that this figure is responsible for untold murders and misery… ” – Creative Loafing
“Director David M. Jenkins and his cast take a straightforward approach … Steve Garland’s Devil is as charming as he is menacing … A large and excellent cast, many of whom take multiple roles, keep the material afloat.” – St. Petersburg Times
“ … a dark, witty tale of historical fiction and human nature … a delightful guilty pleasure for those with an open mind and a curiosity for history and religion … Led by a talented and witty cast, a nearly three hour play quickly flies by for an engaged audience treated to the animated performances of a wide array of characters.” – Sticks of Fire
Cast & Crew
- David M. Jenkins – Director
- Heather Atkinson – Pia Shim / Yapshi / 2nd Actor/ Therese
- Summer Bohnenkamp – Verrier
- Ami Sallee – Ulla Shim / Madeleine / Procell / Barbara / Lilith / Mary Ann Clarke
- Jason Evans – Callimachus / Nicolas Vidal / Jack Easter
- Steve Garland – The Devil
- Chris Holcom – Actor
- Caroline Jett – Catherine Lamb
- Leah LoSchiavo – Nancy Kyle / Polyxene / Alette /Soneillon / Isobel Nider / Mrs. Mendoza
- Michael C. McGreevy – Milo Milo / Daniel Mendoza
- Shawn Paonessa – Sam Kyle
- Christopher Rutherford – Belial / Jesus Christ/ Dante / Macready / Duke of York
- Ron Sommer – Judge Felix Popper
- Katrina Stevenson – Jane Beck
- Xylina Golding – Stage Manager
- David M. Jenkins – Sound Designer
- Spencer Meyers – Costume Designer
- Brian M. Smallheer – Lighting and Scenic Designer
It was my first play and I was overcome by how engaging you all and the program itself were. I was hanging on every word and action…. I loved the intamacy of the specific theater we were in. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house! I could go on and on, but I’ll just say thanks for a wonderful show…. – Courtney Schoenfeld
… very fine acting, particularly from Steve Garland as Lucifer, Chris Rutherford in multiple roles (including Jesus and Dante) and Shawn Paonessa as the lawyer summoned to defend the Devil in court. From David M. Jenkins’ fine direction to Brian Smallheer’s minimalist but ominous red-and-black set, the Jobsite crew should be proud of itself for tackling what seems to be a difficult text and pulling it off.
EVERYONE needs to see this play. It was fantastic. I loved Jesus in the desert, Satan’s initial fall from heaven, Satan’s wife Lilith, and of course the self-convinced witch. Staging was super, and all the actors were great. Strongly recommended. – Lynne Hansen
Garland is excellent as the devil … Chris Rutherford is good in his multiple roles … The rest of the cast performs well, no weak links in any of the roles … The real star though is the script, making liberal use of satanic tropes from literature both ancient and modern and weaving them into something unique and new. – David Hood
I came to the final night of this truly extraordinary play and was pleasantly overwhelmed. I have attended several plays over the past four years and only recently have become a season ticket holder. But last night’s tour de force was something that I wish the rest of the Bay area would have partaken of. I honestly wouldn’t know where to begin, but Steve Garland, Chris Rutherford, Caroline Jett, Chris Holcom, Ron Sommer, Leah LoSchiavo and Ami Sallee Corley gave more than outstanding performances. The minimalist set and the creative lighting portrayed the moods & highlighted the necessary environment most effectively. One couldn’t help but lay in wait for every word, every nuance for the following reaction. Thank you for being experimental, but consistent with lively and fearless portrayals within this creative craft. I can only hold my breath until the next event. – Gary R. Conway
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