Southeastern’s Fine and Performing Arts college put on their final performance for 2016-17 school year, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” on April 7. It was the fourth and final production of the school year, following the college’s performances of “Distracted”, “The Dispute”, and the 2016-17 Inkslinger Award Winner “Why Are You Nowhere?”.
The play was directed by Jennifer Leblanc, from a script originally written by American playwright Stephen Aldry Guirgis. The play centers around a court case in Purgatory that decides the continuing fate of the hell-bound Judas Iscariot. Other characters, including Satan, Mother Teresa, Mary Magdeline, and Jesus Christ are called to the stand to testify in the case against Judas Iscariot.
The original production started off-Broadway from March – April 2005, and was directed by the late actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The acclaimed character actor Sam Rockwell playing the titular role of Judas Iscariot. It was adapted for London’s Broadway equivalent West End, where it ran from March – May 2008. Both iterations of the play were received well critically and commercially according to stageagent.com.
Justin William Davis, a student-actor at SELU, plays Satan in the play. Davis said playing Satan was an interesting turn for him, but he welcomed the challenge and believes the performance helped him grow as an actor and a person.
“I wanted to play Satan from the beginning,” said Davis. “I loved the idea of challenging myself in that way, and it allowed me to analyze things about myself, areas in which maybe I could relate to the character. It was a blast.” Satan is one of the last roles that Davis will play as an undergraduate student here at SELU, as he will graduate in the fall with a degree in Marketing.
Taylor Bennett played the Bailiff in the production, and cited the material as something that got her initially excited for the production. “The script tackles what might be one of the most important events in human history, but this script is hilarious and poignant and sharp. It is so sharp and after the read-through we knew this was going to be a fun show.”
As the 2016-17 school year wraps up for SELU Theatre, all eyes turn towards the fall and the 2017-18 season. A full slate of productions for the upcoming school year will be announced mid-summer, and information on the upcoming productions can be found at southeastern.edu/current_season/index