Photo Credit: Melissa Blackall Photography
Our final Notes from the Cast come from Veronica del Cerro who played Santa Monica, the sassy force of nature who really got our story rolling when she got on the phone to the Big Guy upstairs. Though Veronica had sent the piece in over a week ago, it got held up in the shuffle with all the box office madness that comes with sold out houses. But the timing actually couldn’t be better, as her words serve as a perfect reflection on one Hell of a journey…
“What is God?”
“Sit properly in you chair. If you want to break it, I’ll get you an ax. It will be easier.”
With my chair’s four legs safely on the ground, I repeated the question.
“What is God?”
“God. God is everything you see and everything you are.”
“So this chair is God?”
“Yes. The chair, the table, the food, and you.”
With not a clue as to what that meant I continued to eat my tongue. (Yes, I was made to eat cow tongue with cream sauce when I was 6).
Now, although I am a pescatarian and still do love to swing on chairs, I cherish my father’s words like gold (or silver?). They have become the root of my belief system and I am ever awed at how each day sheds new light on this fundamental idea. I was raised to question, but have found that I actually only have one truth; the answers are not mine to have.
The spirituality, for lack of a better and less popular term, that I have cultivated has been crafted out of experience and necessity. From listening to political and familial stories that have trickled down through the generations, exploring the variety of reading material my parents had available, from my own journeys into the depths of the underworld, and from my family’s love, I have gathered a notion of acceptance.
The Last Days of Judas Iscariot examines the reality of our existance through theatre by allowing these iconic characters to identify with audiences of today. I find that Saint Monica’s pride grows from seeing her underdog loved ones persevere and by holding them, or high-fiving them, while they continue to confront the prejudices that have exploded in their self-schemas. If one is willing to come clean with their own selves, then Saint Monica is willing to provide a tear, a prayer, and some hope.
We are reminded that Judas is one constant: the guilt, shame, and remorse for mixed identities, alcoholism, lust, love, for truth, confusion, poverty, difference, ignorance… Jesus is the other constant: our hope, our will to accept ourselves for who we are and might become. Whether we chose to remain in the purgatory of our own perception, or to be free by embracing uncertainty is the inner trial we all face. Ultimately, your reality is what you make it to be.
“Ms. Veronica, you are in stage-play again, aren’t you?” my 7 year old student asked me as the fractions worksheets were handed out.
“Yes, I am. That’s why I am looking a little tired today. Please get your pencil box.”
“Ms.Veronica, what is your new stage-play called?”
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. Now, put your name on your paper.”
“What’s it about?”
Since I was a little surprised and excited about his newfound interest in my theatrical adventures, I decided to answer as quickly and honestly as I could.
“It is about…ummm..a group of people who had a friend hurt their feelings. Now, they are trying to decide whether or not to forgive him.”
“Oh, so it’s a Feeling Play.”
“Well..uh..” As I began to give a more precise explanation, I saw that he had already moved on from the subject and was writing his initials on his sheet.
“Yes. If that is what it means to you, then that is exactly what it is.”