Wanting to be part of yet another new Los Angeles production of a Guirgis’ play gave me pause.
Thoughts and feelings scrambled, balancing incredible exhilaration and instantaneous lethargy….another JUDAS ISCARIOT? REALLY?
It took me some time to decipher…
Does the L.A. theater community need to bombarded by a play so rife with controversy, so ripe for critical knifing and so provocative it could make my head bust open?!
With the present and ugly political discourse and obvious economic troubles in our society, do I really need to self-indulgently scrutinize the ways in which our beliefs differ from each other?
Should I want friends and family to sit through an evening fraught with a playwrights’ demons and monsters, epic warriors and heros when holiday faire is right around the corner?
DON’T I LOVE THEM?
Can I justify AGAIN opening up wounds and pains from my past to portray a character so volatile and fragile as myself?
Didn’t I vow to do something “lighter” and “entertaining” the next time I stepped onstage?
Yes. Yes, Yes Yes. I did.
So here I am, playing Judge Littlefield in THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT by Stephen Adly Guirgis.
Guirgis’ work screams to me in way that requires my participation.
Growing up Catholic, I struggled with my “educated” beliefs through the Bible and TEN years of parochial schooling.
Diligently I altar-boyed, (i.e. non-abusive connotation), I recited “the word of the lord” as a dedicated lector, and even for a short time doled out the wafer as a Eucharistic Minister (this being my interpretation at the time of the “progress” in “progressive” Catholicism) All this in the name of the FEAR OF GOING TO HELL…and some access to the sacristy which provided me with access to chardonnay, or was it a blanc? I did my duties, all the while silently questioning “the word of God” versus “the word of those in charge of me and this particular church”. The quiet questions dueled in my head, but never verbalized in front of anyone, for fear of ridicule, judgment and again…fear of going to AITCH EE DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS.
The specific queries were many, and most had to do with love, sex and freedom, but never a question of there being “someONE or someTHING out there” (that came later in life.)
I couldn’t justify the reasons that God (i.e. the church) gave me as to why women were unable to be priests, why homosexuals were immoral, why abortion was murder, why wars were being committed, and why sin is inherent in mankind? I mean if you start out with that last one—”born into sin”—you’re pretty fucked.
I couldn’t concur with the teachings that God was something OUT THERE, and something I needed to “get”. If I didn’t come to “know him”, there would be everlasting pain and suffering, and then even MORE of it after judgment day. It didn’t gel with me that all of us were forced into one set of rules and guidelines, one agreed-upon (not by me) group of ideas that defined good and bad, right and wrong, happiness and suffering.
How can that be when each of us are so amazingly different?
My truth is not yours, my choices are mine, my beliefs are JUST THAT—they are NOT A GIVEN for anyone else but me. I do know that MY truth comes with a caveat: as long as I do nothing to impede others lives, or hurt my fellow man or woman, or disavow the choices made by others that also don’t impede or hurt, then I can try to live in fulfillment of my truth. That’s it…everything else is up for grabs.
I think individual truths are what is at the heart of this play, and I am in a great position to communicate that. THIS IS WHY I CHOSE TO DO THIS PLAY!
If YOU choose to see the play, and I hope you do, even it’s not for the first time, then I can only wish you view it with an open mind to the various “truths” that are on display, and perhaps one of them may even change or further enlighten your own.