by Jacquelyn V. Gonzalez
“The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” presented by the Theatre Arts Department, is set to make its debut on Friday at 8:00 pm in the Black Box Theatre.
This will be the first play of the semester.
The comedy will take its viewers through a court case held in purgatory to decide the ultimate fate of Judas; one of Jesus’ 12 disciples who gained infamy after selling Christ to the Roman guards for 30 silver coins.
Judas’ character will be played by Elan, Mario Valdez.
The play is a different spin on the traditional story of Judas.
Though it is not biblically accurate, it will allow its viewers to enjoy an out-of-the-box and hypothetical interpretation of Judas’ story.
For instance, the setting is based in purgatory, an idea that is not mentioned in scripture.
And Judas’ mother’s true name was Cyborea Iscariot, whereas in this play, her name is Henrietta
(played by Priscilla Buelna).
The act tends to focus more on Judas as a flawed human being, rather than the notorious betrayer that most identify him as.
“The whole thing is a different interpretation. It makes you humanize Judas and sort of sympathize with him,” said Valdez.
“You kind of see it from a different point of view. It has very ironic comedy in it and is a very well written piece,” he said.
During the case, Judas skims through memories of his imagined childhood.
In the bible, there is no mention of his childhood. Nor is there mention of what became of him after he hung himself on a tree.
Judge Littlefield, played by Rhys Gillett, allows lawyers to call witnesses such as Pontius Pilate and Sigmund Freud (played by Evan Garcia), Joseph Caiaphas (played by Sam Aguirre), as well as Satan himself (played by Durant Fowler).
Among others, these witnesses will present their own testimonies to the court.
When compared to one another, many of these witnesses lived in different eras, another way that this play is a different take on Judas’ story.
“(The way you look at the play) tells Judas’ story and the understanding as to why he might have done what he did through the testimonies of powerful characters such as Judas’ mother, for instance and Satan. So it’s all these very powerful characters called to the stand,” Gillett said.
Jesus of Nazareth’s character will be brought to life by actor Jesus Betancourt.
“If I had to say it had a purpose, it would be to make people reflect on their own lives and to see that everything is not black and white as we think it is, there are grey areas, you know?” Betancourt said.
Written by well-known playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis and directed by ELAC’s Rodney Lloyd Scott, the play serves as a philosophical meditation on the conflict between God’s mercy and the gift of free will.
Director Rodney Scott, a Christian, says that his faith did not play a factor in the decision to choose this particular piece.
“I’m a Christian, but I’m not necessarily saying I’m doing this show because I’m a Christian. I just felt it was an entertaining story to tell and that the audience might be able to relate to, whatever their religion.”
The act is not recommended for small children, since the language being used is more suitable for a mature audience.
“I think it will be a very enjoyable experience for all audience members. The language might be a little too out there for the youth though. It’s the way we talk now. So they may drop some f-bombs,” said Scott.
The entire play consists of one act.
Tickets for the event, as well as show times and dates are available on the ELAC website under “Upcoming Events.”
The general admission ticket price is 10 dollars.
A $2 discount is available to ASU students and can be redeemed in room P2-101B.
Tickets may also be purchased at the door for $12.