The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Enrique Huili (The Savage Detectives Theater Company) and produced by John Anthony Gorman (Just A Gentleman productions), the most recent revival of this play written by Stephen Adly Guirgis tells the story of a court case over the fate of Judas Iscariot.
If you walk in waiting for a period piece where everyone wears togas and speaks in Old English, then you’re at the wrong place. The play is a satirical look at the concept of religion, beliefs and freedom. The story itself questions the principles set up by the Catholic church and brings back the debate: Was Judas a traitor or a martyr? Using flashbacks, dark humor, and the inclusion of prominent figures throughout Human History.
The cast has really good chemistry, especially John Anthony Gorman as Satan and Fernanda Valencia as Fabiana, solid and compelling throughout the play. It is satisfying to see the fear that Satan’s presence creates among the crowd when he walked around with such arrogance and, at the same time, humbleness. The funniest role is Mother Teresa, portrayed here by Beatriz de la Cruz. Playing this old lady is not easy, but she’s able to do it in such a natural way; it’s easy to see past her beautiful looks and identify the iconic religious figure that Mother Teresa was.
Another element the play has in its favor is the use of Sigmund Freud’s persona (Peter John Wallace) since the characters also question the idea of his principles when it comes to human nature. How right was he – or how wrong – given the circumstances? It’s a play that studies human nature in all its forms from the perspective of science and religion.
The highlight of the night, was the performance by the jury (Jack Phillips Moore) and his amazing monologue about life and human choices. His character allowed us to see a human side incredibly relatable. He was vulnerable and honest. The personification of the audience and the average joe on stage. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. This play and its cast has Off- Broadway potential. They have chemistry, they know the beats, and the work goes beyond the religious debate.
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot ran through April 5th at Under St. Marks Theatre.
Photos courtesy of ASB Photography