Have you ever sat down and wondered, “What if Judas Iscariot was a Zealot and actually just misunderstood Jesus’ mission?”
The hilariously inappropriate and emotionally insightful play, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” cleverly attempts to answer such a question.
Written by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, the scenes are filled with laugh-out-loud ironic satire and a street style feel that is reminiscent of Guirgis’ upbringing in New York’s Harlem. The Guirgis vernacular is ever present in this showing, so remember to leave the kids and faint of heart at home.
Set in the proverbial purgatory, audience members are transported to the trial of Judas Iscariot, where he is awaiting to hear a verdict for a multitude of crimes committed against the holy one himself, Jesus of Nazareth. Witnesses called upon the stand include Mother Theresa, Saint Peter, Saint Matthew, Simon the Zealot, Pontius Pilate, Sigmund Freud, Saint Thomas, Saint Monica, and even Satan.
Showcasing an alley style set up of the stage, the clever genius of the plays director, Bill Gillett, transforms the play into an interactive rendition as audience members become members of the jury at Judas’ trial.
The actors incredibly portrayed their characters with raw emotion and staunch realism. I was able to speak with some of the lead characters backstage after the dress rehearsal, the first being the feisty female lawyer defending Judas Iscariot. The character Fabiana Aziza Cunningham is beautifully played by Nicole Sliwka, an aspiring future actress and dancer. “[the play is] good for everyone; religious and non-religious. Comical-which everyone will enjoy.”
I also had the pleasure of receiving some advice for aspiring actors that would like to audition for any future Carroll productions. Jesus’ advice, played by the solemn Chris Horner, was “Always do warm-ups before going in. Own the room. Don’t let the room own you.”
Judas Iscariot, played by the entrancing Matt Iannone, shared, “Don’t worry about what people think about you. Relax and have fun with it.” Satan, played by the hilariously charming Matthew Purpora added, “Every moment, as soon as you walk through the door, is your audition.” The plays assistant director, Alex Beveridge, also let me know that auditions are open to not only students, but all community members!
Performances will be held on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. (post-show talk-balk with cast and invited experts); Friday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. The cost is $10 for general admission and $5 for senior adults over age 65, faculty, staff and students with identification. Running time is about 2 hours and 45 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission. Please keep in mind that this production is for MATURE audiences.
The witty banter between characters and the darkly comical insight into one of the plights of the new testaments’ most infamous sinners, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”, not only left my sides hurting but also left me with chills. An amazing production from start to finish, it is highly recommend for anyone with a sense of humor.