Brandon G. Green as Nat Turner. (Courtesy Nile Scott Shots)
Awash in blue light on stage, Nat Turner paces the confines of his cell the night before execution; his punishment for leading a slave rebellion and killing more than 50 people in 1831. The sound of heavy chains scraping across the floor weighs on the spirit. Before the sun rises, Turner’s lawyer visits to get information about uprisings to add to Turner’s confession. He wants answers and remorse.
The Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s “Nat Turner in Jerusalem,” at Hibernian Hall through Feb. 24, imagines what Turner’s last night might have been like. At its center, the dialogue between Turner (Brandon G. Green) and his lawyer, Thomas R. Gray (Lewis D. Wheeler) — rippling with religious conviction and condemnation — never reaches a combustive conclusion. Rather, the play by Nathan Alan Davis serves up wrongdoings on both sides of a divide for audiences to contemplate long after the house lights come on.