Cirque de Bible
A colorful cast of character’s grace the Richmond Triangle Player’s stage in Henley Streets co-production of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.”
When chatting with director Bo Wilson about what to expect from the evening’s performance, the first word out of his mouth was “Circus” and the night most certainly fit the bill. As ringmaster, Wilson does a beautiful job of bringing to life this rather lengthy play clocking in at just under three hours.
Length aside, the audience becomes captivated with the characters in a courtroom setting found in a section of Purgatory called Hope. In this Biblical circus, the center ring features The Judge, a man who commited suicide during the Civil War, and the side rings feature a sycophant and an agnostic as the prosecutor and defense attorney.
Playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis presents a discussion that has been going on since the Resurrection. What about Judas? He does so in a fashion that is easily accessible to the contemporary audience although his text flirts with being a little too verbose on more than one occasion. Most of the points the play makes could be summed up in 90 minutes at most.
The show features historic characters from Mary Magdalene to Sigmund Freud. The cast does an excellent job keeping the attention of the audience throughout the production with Diana Carver as the long-winded and sassy Saint Monica being one of the major high points in the show.
The show is truly enjoyable and provocative and climaxes with an epic argument by Jesus played by Jesse Mattes and Judas played by Logan Bennett. Admittedly, this gets hard to watch at some points but these two talented men capture the honest human interaction without getting too preachy as the text comes rather close to doing at some points.
Although some may find the idea of seeing a three hour play overwhelming, this circus is well worth the price of admission. The show entertains as well as educates not only on ideology and theology dealing with the Christianity, but on the nature of human existence and our abilities to forgive. “Judas” is a must see this season.
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” is a part of the Acts of Faith Festival and runs through March 19. For tickets and showtimes, visit Henley Street Theater. Richmond Triangle Players theatre is located at 1300 Altamont Avenue.
Christopher Schoen worked in Richmond area theatre for 10+ years before returning to VCU to pursue his English degree and is glad to support the Arts and GayRVA.com.
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