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Ann Judson Review

As students here at Judson College, we hear about Ann Judson maybe three times a year. One of those occasions is of course during Rose Sunday when Dr. Potts tells us a little of our history. So when I attended Ann Judson, Missionary (performed on November 8th and 10th in the Alumnae Auditorium) I was hoping to learn more about the woman from whom we gain our name. I was not disappointed. The play was written and directed by Judson’s own artist-in-residence, Dr. Billie Jean Young. In many of the plays I’ve seen by Dr. Young there are characters that go through such travesties that we almost want them (for their sakes) to give up, and yet they stay strong. Ann Judson, Missionary was no different. 

 The actors and performers were varied and delightful. Students and faculty joined together to perform the play. Throughout the play selections of Ann Judson’s journals were read. In many of the Burma scenes the actors would pause and an angel would appear and sing over the characters. The Angels were: Jasmine Williams (Senior at UAB), Chaplin Nancy Corcoran of Wellesley College and members from the Zion United Methodist Church Choir of Marion. 

The play begins with Ann right before she met her future husband, Adoniram. It continues through their brief courtship and their eventual marriage. The Judson’s time in India is touched upon but the play predominantly is set in Burma. When they arrive in Burma the hardships begin almost instantaneously. Ann isn’t well but still she perseveres. Both she and Adoniram try to connect with the locals and learn their language. In the beginning they have hardly any support by other missionaries who feel that Burma is just too dangerous. The Judsons keep moving forward. When Adoniram is imprisoned, Ann’s strength and determination are her means of survival. Her faith keeps her strong. After Adoniram’s release he has to leave to translate peace negotiations. It is during his second trip that Ann dies. After her death, there is a scene in which Ann’s life is celebrated. The angels sing and various characters speak of her devotion to God’s will. The play ends with a traditional Burmese dance from Judson freshman Ja Htoi of Burma. 

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