Question: Do you want your mind to be blown?
If yes, then have I got the play for you.
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, written by Stephen Adly Guirgis, takes place in purgatory and puts Judas Iscariot on trial for the betrayal of Jesus while telling the story of how Judas’s ultimate fate is decided. The witnesses range from Saint Monica, Mother Teresa, even Freud. Just your average courtroom drama right? Yeah right. “Average” doesn’t even come close.
In case you are going to see the same production we saw (i.e. with some of the prominent members of Team Starkid) I will only refer to the actors as their characters so you don’t know who I’m talking about. Although if you’ve already looked up the cast list, SPOILERS AHEAD.
First and foremost I’d like to give a shout out to the entire Judas Redux team. Everything from the set, to the costumes, the acting, staging, the lighting, was brilliant. The show flowed with such ease that you forgot you were watching a play. I completely lost myself in the performance. It became the real world. At one point, I realized I wasn’t breathing until, you know, I ran out of air. That’s how captivating it was.
And now into specifics. There were a multitude of moments throughout the show but the one I associate most with my experience of watching Judas isn’t even a moment. It all comes down to a look.
There is a scene where Satan is called back as a witness for further questioning. And he LOSES IT. He was beastly, he was dangerous, he was complete and utter untamed ferocity. And it was brilliant. Then he sits down, readjusts his suit jacket, and waits. That’s when you realize you weren’t breathing.
But the moment I truly realized the genius of these actors was when the defense lawyer, Ms. Cunningham, attempts to regain control of the situation. She’s held her own up till now. Satan calmly gets up, saunters over, and with the sole use of his words, just destroys her. As the prosecutor, Yusef El-Fayoumy, jumps to Cunningham’s defense, Satan (still staring down Cunningham with unblinking eyes that are exuding a now controlled savagery) spits out more venom. And Fayoumy collapses into himself. They all do. And the look Satan gives as he glares at those who try and control him, it’s shear intensity. Again, you just. don’t. breath.
And that was one of the most fascinating aspects of this play. It is a constant power struggle and control is captured and lost in a matter of seconds. Like the Judge who presides over the case. He is a hot head, he likes things done a certain way. But once Satan steps onto the scene, the Judge folds. Just watching the Judge, who for a large part of the play sits and watches the other actors, is captivating. He’s not saying anything and yet your gaze is still drawn to his silent performance. And then he comes out as another character, Caiaphas, and absolutely breaks your heart. It’s the essence of versatility.
As an audience member, your eyes constantly flicker from one person to the next, trying to watch each performance in depth while simultaneously attempting to take everything in all at once. I know I only spoke of one moment in particular but believe me when I say that everyone was sensational.
I suppose all that’s left to say is, bravo Judas Redux. Your talent and ability to make us lose ourselves in the story is a gift. So thanks.
Have a great week!
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