Spirited ‘Devil’s Funeral’ attracts sold-out ‘mourners’

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 8, 2002

If Satan had a funeral, you can be sure it would attract a lot of people. Such proof was visible last Saturday night when &uot;The Devil’s Funeral&uot; played to a packed house in Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

Antioch UCC and Greater Sweet Beulah Apostolic churches both sponsored the play. Samuel Copeland, director, said that he wrote the play in order that we all may see ourselves because all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

&uot;We started this play in 1980 with a wood casket. We have now moved up to a metal one.

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We have traveled to the Bronx, N.Y, and Hampton; and when I directed it in Temple York, Md., it was done with a different cast,&uot; said Copeland.

&uot;Everywhere we would go, there would be standing room only. The Lord had stamped His approval on this ministry,&uot; said Copeland.

The comical but yet a serious production relayed a message to anyone who witnessed it in five acts. Act One was Inferno Hospital – Death of the Devil; Act Two – First Call; Act Three – Spreading the Word; Act Four – Funeral Arrangements; and Act Five – The Devil’s Funeral.

The cast included the following: Members of Hell/Althea Bazemore, Tabatha Joyner, Audrey Vick, Toriano Johnson, Dominigue Cotton, Courtney Mason, Kiara King, Kurtis Barnes; Children/Wife’s Child – Audrey Bazemore; Ex-Wife’s Child – Labrea King; Girlfriend’s Kids – Devonda Davis and Saykwan Wilson; More Outside Kids – Cotton, Tonya Harris and Diamond Davis; Hateful Sisters – Tameka Barnes and Charity Mason; The Family/Wife – Rose Childs; Grandmother – Lucille Mundon, Girlfriend – Aprell Bazemore, Ex-Wife – Shawana Bazemore; The Church Lady/Georgie E. Pope; Rev. Mother Sister Bishop/Pauline Copeland; Sis Holy Roller/Carolyn Bess; Musicians/James Copeland and Joshua Riddick; Soloists Scottii Copeland and Gregory Lawrence; Stagepersons/Linda Lewter, Windell Lewter and Wayne Copeland; Soundmen/Elgin Copeland Jr. and Wayne Copeland; Ushers/Mary Lewter and Sherry Goodman; Head morticians/Annie Stallings, Rachel Davis, Wilda Davis, and Pearline Carroll; Ministers/Douglas Mundon, Aaron Davis, Elgin Copeland III, Daryl Davis Jr., Dwayne Parrett and Bernard Vick; Nurses/Marita Wilson, Claudette Mason and Belinda Boyette; Imps/Christopher King, John Harris, Tremaine Harris and William Mason.

Believe it or not, many obstacles came against many members of the cast, and at one time Copeland didn’t know if it could still be presented with so many accidents and sicknesses occurring. However, the play went off without a hitch and everyone seemed to know his part without wavering, stammering or reading any cue cards.

Copeland said God has also given him the talent to lift the musicians up.

The entire audience was included the last act to put more emphasis on its meaning. Actors interacted with the audience who played the part of those in attendance at the funeral. However, when they were allowed to view the body, they were very much surprised at the person who was looking back at them in the casket. I won’t reveal this

person to those who haven’t seen the play.

&uot;Sometimes you think that somebody has to preach to you all of

the time to tell you what you are doing wrong, but sometimes somebody can also show you something that can change your life. We are not calling anyone devils but all of us have in some way done something not pleasing to the Lord.

&uot;Whenever you see ‘The Devil’s Funeral,’ please pray for us,&uot; said Copeland.