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Don’t know yet if we’re going to have time/space/money in the print paper to re-review The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, which is getting a much-deserved revival at the H Street Playhouse.
So let this be your cue: Go buy a ticket. The April-May run of Stephen Adly Guirguis’ play was probably the single most thrilling piece of theater I’ve seen all year.
I mean: I’m a jaded 40-year-old theater critic, with a bad attitude most days, and I’ve been to more bad plays this year than I had bad one-night stands back in my 20s. And I cried like a damn baby at this show.
I’m telling everybody I know to go see it. I’m even pimping this play (which, y’know, isn’t exactly PG) to the public-TV audience. Here’s the script for my Best Bet on on WETA’s Around Town, which I’m going over to Shirlington to tape in a few hours:
Something new opens in DC theaters pretty much every week, so I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on shows I’ve already reviewed — especially shows that closed back in May. I’m gonna make an exception this week, though, for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot — because it’s coming back. And if you love the reach and the ambition and the intimacy and the power that makes theater theater, you really must go see this show. It’s the story of the trial of Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus to the authorities, and it’s set in a court in Purgatory. The judge is a dead Confederate who hanged himself on the day Lee surrendered; the witnesses include Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud, Santa Monica and the Devil himself. This play — it’s a meditation on the tension between divine mercy and human free will — is funny, and moving, and profane, and sad, and oh, man, the way it uses *language* — it’s just downright intoxicating, and it was the best thing I saw onstage this year. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, revived with
all of the original castall but one of the original cast*, at the H Street Playhouse to December 21.
The WETA audience won’t see that until next week, after the show has opened. But you’s my CP peeps, so you get the first heads-up.
Seriously: Go spend an evening with Judas. My original review is over here in the CP archive, if you need more convincing.
*Whoops. Got a call from Michael Dove. Turns out Maggie Glauber’s having twins, and — though initially it *was* supposed to be the whole original cast — she won’t be playing Mother Teresa again. My bad.