Beginning in April 2002, Brooklynite Schmidt took his seeming fate as a failed playwright into his own hands and began staging his latest play The Last Supper in the living room of his own Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment—which he christened The Church of the Holy Transformation. Each audience numbered about a dozen. The show was quirky and unique enough to attract articles in such publications as Time Out New York and The New York Times. It took some time, but the play built up enough momentum to transfer to Manhattan, to a different living room, last Oct. 17, at 154 W. 27th Street, Apt. No. 4W.
The title has a double meaning. Ostensibly, the play—which is performed and directed by Schmidt—is a retelling of the original last supper, focusing of the women who prepared the meal for Jesus and his disciples. But Schmidt often gets off track, sometimes talking about his own frustrated ambitions as a playwright, reading from copious rejection letters. Meanwhile, the author is busy fixing of four course dinner, meant to be consumed by the audience at the end of the performance.
Over the course of the play's 126 performances, 2,300 people have attended, roughly the size of one sold-out performance of The Phantom of the Opera. Theatregoers have consumed 130 cases of wine, 300 loaves of bread, and 1,300 pounds of lamb.
Schmidt's kitchen won't stay cool for long. He will take his play to Bonn, Germany for the Bonn festival, June 15-19. He has also been offered a spot in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in September.
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