Rude Mechanicals Present “Murder and Mayhem”

When you picture Adam and Eve or Noah, generally you imagine older biblical images in stained glass windows, not teenagers flipping people off. However, in the Rude Mechanicals’ production of “Murder and Mayhem: How It All Began,” students are performing Biblical plays with a modern flair for the first time in over a decade.

“The plays are funny but also give a glimpse into the way medieval people thought about their world and their religion,” said Rude Mechanicals director and English professor Betty Elzey. “Our production will follow this pattern, presenting these medieval Biblical plays with all of their original humor and irreverence.”

The evening will include three separate plays: “The Creation and Fall of the Angels and the Creation and Fall of Man,” “The Murder of Abel” and “Noah.” Each play recounts the story of the Biblical namesake featuring Shepherd students and members of the Rude Mechanicals as performers. However, the plays will not feature holy texts or lofty religious ideals.

“Mystery plays developed in the 14th century all over Europe, often performed on pageant wagons (comparable to floats in modern parades) depicting episodes from the Bible. Because these plays were performed in the middle of busy streets, they had to grab the attention of illiterate peasants and workers. This explains the humor and irreverence in the plays,” said Ellzey.

The shows are very humorous in nature and are not recommended for children or younger viewers as they do incorporate obscenities and vulgar gestures, meaning they are ideal for some college week night or weekend entertainment.

The Rude Mechanicals group is widely known on the Shepherd campus for presenting Shakespearean dramas and comedies. They perform many other plays by equally prestigious medieval playwrights, often featuring morality plays or medieval dramas. However, a mystery play from the group is a rare occurrence.

“We have performed mystery plays in the past, but not for about 10 years,” said Ellzey.

“The Creation and Fall of the Angels and the Creation and Fall of Man” features Carlos Martinez as God, Kaitlyn Miller as Cherubin, LaShawn Tolson as Lucifer/Serpent, Daisy Thomas as Bad Angel 1/Demon 1, Keira Cale as Bad Angel 2/ Demon 2, Aja Bailey as Good Angel 1, Ashley Hall as Good Angel 2, Kevin Tamplen as Adam, Catherine Ellzey as Eve, and Ben Denny and Ben Johnson as Musicians.

“The Murder of Abel” features Kaitlyn Miller as Cain, Ashley Hall as Abel, Tai Sommers as Garcio,  Alan Tamplen as God, and LaShawn Tolson, Daisy Thomas, Kevin Tamplen, Keira Cale
Musician Ben Denny and Ben Johnson as Cain’s Horses.

“Noah” features Sean Milito as Noah, Daisy Thomas as Gil, Carlos Martinez as God, LaShawn Tolson as Gil’s Friend, Kevin Tamplen as the First Son, Alan Tamplen as the Second Son,  Kaitlyn Miller as the Third Son, Aja Bailey as the First Wife, Ashley Hall as the Second Wife, Keira Cale as the Third Wife, and Ben Denny and Ben Johnson as Musicians.

“Murder and Mayhem: How It All Began” will run in Reynolds Hall on April 2 and 3 at 8:30 p.m., April 4 at 7:30 p.m., and April 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free for Shepherd students, $2 for students from other universities and Shepherd faculty and staff, and $5 for general public tickets. For more information or to reserve tickets, please contact Betty Ellzey at or  (304) 876-5208.

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