ROXBURY – A forlorn soul is handcuffed and shackled, straining to see the last rays of what will be his final sunset in the small town Jerusalem, Va. before he meets his Maker the next morning. The gallows are beckoning.
They will come from near and far to see Nat Turner hanged the next morning for leading a slave uprising in Southampton County, Va. that killed 55 whites in 1831.
Turner’s motives have been discussed and dissected most notably in Thomas Ruffin Gray’s 1831 pamphlet “The Confessions of Nat Turner, the Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Va.,” and later in William Stryon’s controversial 1967 novel “The Confessions of Nat Turner.” There have been other books, poems, and essays with often conflicting points of view.
Playwright Nathan Alan Davis has his own take on Turner’s last hours in the Actors Shakespeare Project production of “Nat Turner in Jerusalem.”
The ASP’s occasional ventures outside of The Bard’s canon of work have been largely successful and “Nat Turner” is being smartly staged in Hibernian Hall, which has emerged as the cultural hub of the Dudley Square neighborhood of Roxbury.