WEST ATHENS — From a comfortable chair in the living room of her home in West Athens, Anna Freeman reflected this week on turning 80 and took a look back on her long life as a writer, a poet, a playwright, musician and actress.

In her new play, “The Court of Final Reckoning,” which opens Thursday at East Madison Square Garden, Freeman presents seven people who have recently died and are brought before a judge as defendants accused of committing one of the seven deadly sins: avarice, vanity, pride, envy, lust, wrath and sloth.

Will they be condemned? Are they forgiven or are they to be given a second chance at life? The judge and 12-member jury, made up of audience members, will decide.

“I had just finished writing an autobiography and looking back at my life. I wasn’t always on the path of righteousness,” said Freeman, one of the founders of the West Athens Fourth of July parade and play. “I’ve probably sinned a few times, and I was thinking about how am I going to be judged.”

Everybody has sinned, she said. Each defendant in her play has arrived at the high court because their lives had been found by the lower court, when they died, to have been equal in good and bad. Now it is up to the judge and jury to determine their eternal fate.

“Each one of them has an opportunity to explain why they are the way they are,” she said.

The characters, a world famous billionaire inventor, a conservative Christian politician, a woman’s rights peace worker, an aging former stage and screen star, a bartender and a grocery store manager all stand before the Honorable Clancy Peters, played by local musician and actor Bob Lovelace of Brighton Plantation, who has performed at the Waterville Opera House, Lakewood Theatre and the Skowhegan Opera House.

The play will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and again June 29, 30 and July 1. Performances are at East Madison Square Garden, an all-purpose community center on Tupper Road, off the Bagley Road, in East Madison.

The play is set in three parts: The interrogation, entreaty and pleas to the jury, and the final reckoning.

The first 12 people to enter the court room will be invited to sit on the jury of peers responsible for delivering the final reckonings.

Admission is $10 per person and $15 per couple.

Freeman, who has been living off and on in West Athens since 1973, was a local columnist and taught drama and wrote and produced plays at the elementary and high schools in the Skowhegan and Madison school districts. She was a member of Cornville Players, Curtain Up Enterprises at Lakewood Theatre, and was one of the founders and principal characters in the 40 years of In Spite of Life productions in the West Athens gravel pit.

Defendants and court staff include Karla Bussell, Vaughn LeBlanc, Jeffrey Johnson, Donnie Dorr, Cheryl Seamans, Sarah MacMichael, Kelly Poulin, Lovelace and Freeman herself.

Freeman said the play offers an important message about forgiveness and tolerance.

“I would like to have forgiveness, and I think people should not judge one another,” Freeman said. “I just hope that I will be judged fairly. We all have this beauty in us.”

Each juror is given a ballot on which they can check “forgiven,” “condemned” or “a second chance.” The ballots are collected and presented to the judge, who then calls each of the defendants by name, reviews the person’s ballot and delivers his verdict.

Booing and hissing from the audience is encouraged.

In the play, Freeman reflects on her own life, playing the role of Klara Horst, an aging actress who was once a beautiful star of stage and screen. She died from complications of cosmetic surgery. Her sin was vanity.

“It is not fair to call a woman vain, when she’s just trying to hold on to what God gave her in the first place,” Freeman said in character. “I think a lot of people will understand that — a lot of women, and a lot of men.

“This is really so much a culmination of that question that I ask myself now that I’m 80,” Freeman said. “What’s my next step? Where am I going?”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.