The Bible’s most notorious traitor is put on trial in a present-day urban courtroom in a darkly funny look at the meaning of redemption by playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis. Director Josh T. Ryan (Zombie Joe’s Underground) takes the reins, upping the ante to create a lean, complex and gritty revival at the Hudson Mainstage, opening July 19.
Scathingly provocative with edgy, streetwise dialogue, colorful characters and courtroom shenanigans of the highest order, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” is a searing look at history’s most infamous double-cross. Set in an area of downtown Purgatory where “it don’t smell good,” Judas is tried by a Civil War deserter, and those called to the stand include Mother Teresa, Freud, a host of saints and sinners and the Prince of Darkness himself. As the trial goes on, we are forced to re-examine old truths and consider what it means to forgive.
In an interview, Guirgis explained that he has been incubating doubts about the nature of God’s will ever since, as an eight-year-old in a Catholic school, he first learned of Judas’ condemnation.
“It threw me a big jolt,” he said in a prepared statement. “I was little but I remember thinking, well, if I can forgive someone, why can’t God, who was supposed to be all loving. That was the beginning of the end of my Christian experience.”
“The interesting thing about this play,” said Ryan in the prepared statement, “is that its message – that salvation is available – is fascinating for people of all faiths, or for people of no faith at all. It uses bite, wit and charm to tackle some really fundamental truths: unconditional love, a shot at redemption, personal responsibility, soul examination and a sincere look at what forgiveness might feel like.”
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” opens on July 19 and continues through August 24, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30; students and seniors get in for $20. The Hudson Mainstage is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038. For information and to purchase tickets, call (323) 960-7738 or go to www.plays411.com/judas.