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The Last Days of Judas Iscariot: Questioning Everything



In an era of snap judgments and a never ending stream of complex interpretations of good and bad in the public eye, it can be hard to come to a consensus on any one person’s innate goodness. For most though, it is pretty easy to paint Judas Iscariot, apostle and traitor of Jesus Christ, as an evil person.

But with time and distance, one wonders… is that fair?

That’s just one of the big things that the Majestic’s Last Days of Judas Iscariot questions over the course of its time on stage.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, written by Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by Rus Roberts, debuts at the Majestic Theatre on April 5th and will run for two weekends. Evening performances are at 7:30 pm and Sunday matinee performances are at 2:30 pm. The first matinee will feature a talkback with the director and cast after the show.

The Last Days frames the story of Judas Iscariot’s (Kevin Kelly) final judgment as a court case in the spiritual realm of the in-between that is Purgatory. While the play is named after the man, Judas spends most of the play catatonic, taking in the proceedings in a stupor brought on by his grief.

The Honorable Judge Littlefield (Don Taco) oversees the case with dry and sarcastic aplomb. Tasked with Judas’s defense is Fabiana Aziza Cunningham (Madison Shirley), a deceased Irish lawyer with a fiery streak. She is out to prove that Judas should be forgiven and sent to Heaven while on the other end, the deadly Yusef El-Fayoumy (Robert Best) argues that Judas deserves damnation.

Throughout the case, various figures from all walks of life are called to the stand. Sigmund Freud (Cathleen Hockman-Wirt), Saint Monica (Brandi Douglas), and Satan himself (Patrick Chappell) all pass through the halls of the courtroom by the time it’s all said and done.

This play doesn’t dress anything up. These historical figures, each with their own storied pasts, are presented as ordinary people. They’re funny, conflicted — utterly human. And it’s that humanity that we come to realize is the true failing of our principal characters.

Director Rus Roberts, who returns to the show after previously directing it in 2011, found the process this time around to be refreshing. A new cast meant new interpretations and ideas.

As to why Roberts wanted to revisit the complex show, he cites the innate complexity of the script.

“I wanted to bring The Last Days to the Corvallis stage for the same reason why I directed it before,” explains Roberts, “that is to make people think. This play is made to question what folks hold as ‘truth.’ I want people to walk out with more questions than they came in with.”

Kevin Kelly, the actor behind the eponymous Judas, found this play to leave him with questions answered about what it means to be Christian.

“I was drawn to this show because I wanted to further explore my Christian faith and explore the motivations of the different characters and perspectives in the play in that context,” describes Kelly. “Embodying Judas has taught me that having a relationship with God means following His lead, admitting when you’re wrong, and accepting forgiveness.”

Madison Shirley, portraying Fabiana Aziza Cunningham, highlighted the timelessness of the script when discussing its impact.

“Given the story & characters, I think this play could honestly fit into almost any point in modern history well,” explains Shirley. “But especially today. In a time when society itself is questioning the definition of morality, forgiveness and acceptance, this play shines a harsh light on the seemingly cyclical nature of humanity’s shortcomings (with some hilarious laughs to soften it.)”

Brandi Douglas, who portrays Saint Monica, says the show is one that sidesteps pleasantries, calling it “anti-Oregon Nice.”

“It’s direct, it’s funny, it’s in your face, it’s heartbreaking,” lists Douglas. “All the characters (even Satan) are speaking their truths — and sometimes those truths collide — but it doesn’t make any of their truths less valid. I hope the audiences come away from this in a mind fog of critical thought because ultimately it’s not just about Judas’ truth…it’s about all of our truths and how we uphold them.”

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot opens next weekend and runs through April 14. Tickets will run $16 for adults and $14 for students and seniors. There will be a $10 opening night special for all who attend! Purchase your tickets here![/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

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The Majestic Theatre is a branch of the City of Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department, dedicated to bringing a wide range of artistic productions and arts education programs to the citizens of Corvallis.

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