Stephen Adly GuirgisTHE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT
Large hallAn afterlife comedy
Premiere - 9th October, 2022
Duration - 3h
The new courtroom has become a show. The viewer has become the juror who will decide the guilty and innocent in the comment section of social media. We, the lovers of screens, have gotten used to watching celebrities on trial. At first, it was the MeToo scandals and the resulting dethroning of powerful men. And then the opposite – Johnny Depp wins his defamation suit against his ex-wife’s accusations. But one celebrity has not reached the headlines though the accusations against him are the gravest of all and the punishment graver still.
In the place before Heaven and Hell – Limbo – there’s a stop for only those drowning in hopelessness. The name of this stop is Hope. Here works a Judge earning his place in Heaven by refusing mercy for those wallowing in Hell’s suffering. But a young lawyer manages to appeal for the case of Judas Iscariot to be tried. Judas himself couldn’t care less – he doesn’t defend himself as he’s frozen in a catatonic state. One after another celebrities from the afterlife get summoned to testify. Sigmund Freud points out the madness of Judas. Saint Monica tells about her pity for him after trying to torment him. Mother Theresa has her own reasons for not granting mercy to Iscariot.
Stephen Adly Guirgis is an American author of Egyptian origins notable for his uncompromising look at the hypocrisy of religion and taboo themes. His plays throughout European theatres come with politically correct warnings that some viewers might be offended as the author doesn’t shy away from things that often get buried under disingenuous politeness. The choice of words by the author has the potential to offend a person’s religious feelings. Mental illness is called as it is and there’s an unapologetic irony about minorities. But the play has been admired not just amongst intellectuals but by a broader public as well as its so devilishly witty.
In 2005 Philip Seymore Hofmann chose to direct “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” and since then the play has garnered special attention. It surprises with its humour, its wit, and cheek that makes the big questions ridiculously small. And to this day the play is produced in many places in the world.
The question to which Satan responds with: “If I’d “entered'' Judas believe me he would have felt “my presence”, get it?” – is forever topical, because if Satan himself refuses the laurels of Juda’s deeds, then who can say that the betrayal of God was not the plan of God himself and Judas – just the one who had to carry it out?