Southeastern Theatre presents ‘The Last Days of Judas Iscariot’

Friday, March 24, 2017
by: Rene Abadie

     HAMMOND – If Judas Iscariot, the Christian world’s incarnation of selfishness and betrayal, were put on trial today, what would transpire?
     The answer to that question will be played out on Southeastern Louisiana University’s Vonnie Borden stage in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” running at 7:30 p.m. each night April 4-7.
     Admission is free for Southeastern students. General admission is $5. Tickets are available one hour before the performances at the ticket booth located in D Vickers Hall.
     Adjunct Professor of Theatre Jennifer Bouquet will be making her directorial debut with the play, which she says is less about religion and more about forgiveness on a human level.
     “If you think this production is about religion, it’s not,” she said. “It is a different perspective on who Judas Iscariot was as a human being and all the flaws that come with being a human. It also shows the power of forgiveness – not just forgiveness from a higher power, but forgiving ourselves and participating in our own salvation or fate.”
     The trial takes place in a realm called Hope, a plane between Heaven and Hell and separate from Purgatory. Counsel will call for many historical figures to take the stand, such as Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud and Satan, to offer testimony. Judge Littlefield, presiding over this astral court of appeals, will review the evidence and accounts of the witnesses to decide the ultimate fate of Judas.  While the theme of this play is forgiveness, some aspects of it can get quite dark and may not be appropriate for young children, Bouquet said.
     “It is heavy material,” she added. “The language is harsh, but that is how the playwright chose to write this play, and I have to respect that.”
     Still, Bouquet believes the audience is sure to leave the theater with much to ponder.
     “There are many things this play covers, but it’s more about letting go of pride and allowing ourselves to feel forgiveness and to forgive ourselves for things that we cannot change,” she said. “It’s a human quality -- pride -- that many at some point, even myself, possess, and this brings a solution to the forefront.”
     Baxter Francis of Baton Rouge plays the lead role of Judas Iscariot, while Neal Eli of Luling plays Jesus of Nazareth. Other cast members and their characters include Justin Davis of Greensburg, Satan; Angela Griffitt of Mandeville, Henrietta Iscariot; Alexis Durante of Hammond, Fabiana Aiza Cunningham; Taylor Sinclair of Hammond, Usef El-Fayoumy; Colin Ross of Baton Rouge, Judge; Taylor Bennett of Slidell, Bailiff; Shelly Sneed of Minden, St. Monica; Jordin Jones of Harvey, Loretta and Mother Theresa; Morgan Age of Lacombe, Gloria and Matthias of Galilee; Matt Doyle of Mandeville, Pontius Pilate and Simon the Zealot; Thomas Murphy of Hammond, St. Peter and Caiaphas the Elder; Ben Norman of Hammond, Butch Honeywell and St. Thomas; Catherine Leger of Mandeville, Mary Magdalene and Sister Glenna; and Tyler Meyer of Prairieville, St. Matthew and Sigmund Freud.
     For more information, contact the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at 985-549-2184.

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