When I set out on my quest to fully understand The Last Days of Judas Iscariot I starting with what I already knew. I started with my iTunes. My only daily interactions with Jesus are through music. So here for your own discovery my Discovering Jesus Mix:
Jesus Loves Me – Cocorosie – La Maison De Mon Rêve
Talk to Jesus – The Brunettes – Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode – Violator
Jesus Loves You (But Yr Still Coming Home With Me Tonight) – Des Ark – Loose Lips Sink Ships
Jesus, Etc. – Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
I Have Forgiven Jesus – Morrissey – You Are the Quarry
Jesus – The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
I Told Jesus – Roberta Flack – First Take
and extra video bonus track:
Judas’ Death – Andrew Lloyd Webber – Jesus Christ Superstar
Monday marks the official first rehearsal of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Everyone is getting ready. The director, designers and stage management have already been hard at work. The actors had a chance to read through the script once in the beginning of February and now they prepare to dive in to this demanding and exhilarating play.
I, as well, have already started work and I am also excited to dive in. As dramaturg on this play I have a couple of different responsibilities. I am available to the cast and team to help with any research they need, I will be providing them with a great deal at the start: information on the various characters, origins of quotations, and the like. I am also here to provide the audience with as much information as I can to peak their excitement about the play, to round out the experience of coming to Forum and to keep the story on their mind when they walk out of the theater and return to their homes.
The past few weeks I have been reading up. I have been working my way through the Gospels and everything else as well. I am very used to doing research in the Bible but it’s generally the other half. As a Jew, I am now, more or less, discovering Jesus for the first time. I studied Christianity in college but working on a play feels different. So in blog entries through out the rehearsal process and run of Judas keep your eyes open as I go on this journey. A journey different from Stephen Adly Gurgis as he set out to write this play about the depths of forgiveness and possibilities of redemption. A journey different from the one the cast is going on as they bring new light to familiar characters. A journey different from the one you will experience sitting in the theater.
For me, this is my journey into the other, my journey into having a deeper understanding of theology and faith, and my journey of curiosity and discovery as we bring this play I already love, to our audience.
Forum’s next production is The Last Days of Judas Iscariot by Stephen Adly Guirgis (April 13–May 4, 2008). As we start our design meetings, first reads, and production research, I wanted to start passing on some pre-show info and insight that’s going into our production.
Our research has begun, obviously, with some good ‘ok Bible reading (memories of Bible Camp have been flooding back in droves lately), but we’ve been lucky to find this other book that has become quite invaluable to our studies. A Jesuit Off-Broadway was published a few months ago and is a sort-of production diary for the original production of Last Days. The text was written by James Martin, a Jesuit priest, and follows the Philip Seymour Hoffman-directed production at the Public Theatre with the LAByrinth Theatre Company. Martin served as the “theological adviser” to the production and gives some really interesting insight, not only into the production, but into the religious issues and debates brought up in the script.
If you are looking for some more winter reading, I recommend checking this book out before you come see our production. We’ll be using some of the ideas brought up in this book for our post-show talks, so join us in our research and then come and join the dialogue in April.
Posted in Judas
Opening this past week over at Catalyst is Swimming in the Shallows by Adam Bock. The show is getting some nice press over at the Post and DCTheatreScene. We are always proud when one of our own goes out and shines for other companies around town, and this production features Forum company member Patrick Bussink (The Memorandum and the upcoming The Last Days of Judas Iscariot) as……a shark. No, not one of the loan or card variety, but an honest-to-god swimmer with fins shark. That’s worth the $10 tickets alone, yes? But not only that, it’s a really great script and also included in the cast is Forum alum Adrienne Nelson (UpShot).
If you have a free night, please go and support our teammates and be rewarded with a great night of theatre.