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GMU PLAYERS PRESENT STEPHEN ADLY GUIRGIS' "THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT"
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GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY’S
THEATER DEPARTMENT & GMU PLAYERS
"THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT"
BY STEPHEN ADLY GUIRGIS
DIRECTED BY HEATHER MCDONALD
George Mason University’s Harris Theater
Feb. 26-28, 2009 at 8 p.m.
Feb. 28–March 1, 2009 at 2 p.m.
FAIRFAX, Va., Feb. 19, 2008 – “This ain’t your grandmother's Gospel.” (Village Voice) The GMU Players bring Stephen Adly Guirgis’ dark comedy “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” to the stage this spring. Directed by Heather McDonald, this astonishing play will be performed at Harris Theater on George Mason University’s Fairfax campus on Feb. 26-28 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 28-March 1 at 2 p.m.
Set in a time-bending, seriocomically imagined world between heaven and hell, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” is a philosophical meditation on the conflict between divine mercy and human free will that takes a close look at the eternal damnation of the Bible’s most notorious sinner. The play tells the tale of the fallen apostle in Purgatory, who litigates with his lawyers for his entry into Heaven. “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” contains flashbacks of Judas’ imagined childhood, and the lawyers also call on the testimony of witnesses such as Mary Magdalene, Mother Teresa, Pontius Pilate, Sigmund Freud and Satan.
Written by Guirgis in 2005, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” debuted in an off-Broadway performance at The Public Theater in New York City in March 2005, with Philip Seymour Hoffman directing. The European/West End premiere was directed by Rupert Goold, and was staged at the Almeida Theatre in London in spring of 2008. Both productions and the playwright received positive reviews. “[‘The Last Days of Judas Iscariot’] shares many of the traits that have made Mr. Guirgis a playwright to reckon with in recent years: a fierce and questing mind that refuses to settle for glib answers, a gift for identifying with life’s losers and an unforced eloquence that finds the poetry in lowdown street talk. Guirgis brings to the play a stirring sense of Christian existential pain, which wonders at the paradoxes of faith,” said Ben Brantley in The New York Times. Charles Spencer of the Telegraph (UK) wrote “‘The Last Days of Judas Iscariot’…reminds us of what is missing not only from 99 percent of our drama but from 99 percent of our lives - a sense of spirituality and of mystery.”
Playwright, screenwriter and actor Stephen Adly Guirgis has been a member of New York City’s LAByrinth Company since 1994, and has had five plays directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and produced by the company: “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” “Our Lady of 121st Street,” “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” “In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings” and, most recently, “The Little Flower of East Orange,” starring Ellen Burstyn. His television writing credits include “NYPD Blue” and “The Sopranos,” and his film credits include LAByrinth’s “Guinea Pig Solo,” Todd Solondz’s “Palindromes,” Brett C. Leonard’s “Jailbait” and Charlie Kaufman’s “Synedoche, New York.”
The GMU Players is a dynamic faculty-directed student organization within the Theater Department. The Mainstage Series provides students the opportunity to work directly with Mason theater faculty and guest artists, while the Studio Series is selected, directed, and designed by students. The GMU Players produce eight productions each season. A professional director and playwright, Heather McDonald received her Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and has taught playwriting for George Mason University’s Theater Department for 17 years.
Tickets are $12. ($8 For students, seniors and GMU faculty/staff). Limited free tickets available for GMU students. All performances are in the Harris Theater. Free parking available in adjacent surface lots. Tickets may be purchased at the door one hour prior to the performance. To purchase tickets by phone, or for directions, please contact the Center for the Arts Box Office at (703) 993-8888. For information on group sales, please call Kimberly Schall at (703) 993-8600. For Information on the GMU Theater Department or the GMU Players, please call (703) 993-1120.
The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.
About George Mason University
George Mason University, located in the heart of Northern Virginia’s technology corridor near Washington, D.C., is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with national distinction in a range of academic fields. With strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering, information technology, biotechnology and health care, Mason prepares its students to succeed in the work force and meet the needs of the region and the world. Mason professors conduct groundbreaking research in areas such as cancer, climate change, information technology and the biosciences, and Mason’s Center for the Arts brings world-renowned artists, musicians and actors to its stage. Its School of Law is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 35 law schools in the United States.