The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot Production Team

Set in a time-bending, seriocomically imagined courtroom in purgatory where saints talk street slang and lawyers barter with Satan, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot features witnesses from across history such as Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud and Simon the Zealot who are made to stand at the revolutionary trial of Judas, the ultimate betrayer of Jesus Christ.

Hannah: What drew you to the show?

Louise: I didn’t grow up religious, so the first time I was properly exposed to Christianity funnily enough was Jesus Christ Superstar. When I watched it I had no idea about the New Testament story and became very interested in specifically Judas who has quite a big role in that musical. Then, I went to a talk by Peter Stanford, the author of Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle, where he talked about how Judas is represented in the bible, in pop culture and through other media. He also gave reference to Last Days which I then read and was blown away by how much better it was to me than all the other texts I’d read on him. The other ones were a lot more biased – there’s usually an agenda behind them and most of them still portray Jesus as the protagonist. This play distinguishes itself from the others precisely because it tries to cover everything: it deliberately acknowledges all the different schools of thought regarding Judas and the fact that all of these have different agendas and biases and it is possible to view them in a more objective light. It’s a fair telling of Judas: it doesn’t lean towards him being good or bad; it’s an honest discussion and you don’t feel like you’re being swayed towards one decision.

L: How have you found the rehearsal process? And what has that experience been like coming in halfway through?

“It’s an honest discussion and you don’t feel like you’re being swayed”

H: It’s been very collaborative in the best sense because the actors already have a sense of who they are, their backstories and what they’re trying to communicate. Because we already have that foundation, it’s been great to skip those initial questions and really go into the deeper questions about what it means to exist in this world, and how their characters render ideas about death and purgatory. It’s not only about reciting lines or going through blocking or situating them in a place and time. I think we do cover a lot of deep questions which make the rehearsals such an incredible thing to witness and watch because those characters have nailed that background understanding.

H: At one point, Saint Monica asks ‘if we are all eternal, and if Human Life is only the first mile in a billion, do you honestly believe that God could abandon any mothaf****r so soon in the journey?’ What role does God play in Last Days?

L: I’m much more familiar with this early 19th-century idea when humanism was first on the rise and we were first challenging the authority of God and the organised Church. I was always more familiar with Cunningham’s stance on God in the sense that there is a doubt and challenge towards this image of an omnipotent yet benevolent God. What this play does well is that it doesn’t limit itself to that idea because that is a very easy agenda to follow. I think Last Days acknowledges this possibility through the character of Cunningham but it doesn’t accept it or encourage us to believe that. It tries to offer a counter argument, funnily enough, through Satan, who is actually the character to argue that God is benevolent and there is such thing as unconditional forgiveness and grace.

H: How have you dealt with featuring real, historical figures in the play?

“You see there the idea of Judas as a legacy becoming more significant”

L: The well known ones like Mother Teresa and Sigmund Freud have been really fun to have in this play because they are so whacky. At first glance, they’re not really related to the story at all but you see there the idea of Judas as a legacy becoming more significant: not who he is from a purely theological point of view, but how the existence of this character has changed over the years. They’re not there as realistic people but more a school of thought and to represent how we can look at the past and judge it with entirely new values.


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L: What would you like the audience to take away from the show?

H: This show is so funny and ridiculous. You’re not meant to feel all serious walking away from it. On certain levels, I want it to show that we are allowed to laugh at life and at our mistakes. I want the audience to look at these people who existed so long ago and be left with the choice to either be like Judas who haunts and tortures himself for the rest of his life, or be like the characters who have just chosen to let go and forgive themselves. There is a clear answer on who’s doing better. It’s also a way to get the audience to think: this is a new portrayal of Judas and shows Caiaphas, Pontius Pilate, the disciples and all of these other real figures in history from a new perspective. With that comes a new level of introspective thinking.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is running from Friday the 19th of November to Monday the 22nd of November at Queen’s Fitzpatrick Hall. Tickets are available here: