Silk Road Rising Presents World Premiere of Motti Lerner's PAULUS, 11/7-12/15
Silk Road Rising Artistic Director Jamil Khoury and Executive Director Malik Gillani are proud to announce the World Premiere of Paulus, written by Motti Lerner, translated by Hillel Halkin, directed by Jimmy McDermott. Paulus runs November 7 - December 15, 2013, in Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St, Chicago. Press opening is Saturday, November 16 at 4:00 pm.
In Paulus, a compassionate but wary 62-year-old Jesus and an egomaniacal Emperor Nero torment the ailing psyche of the Apostle Paul as he struggles to universalize monotheism against fierce opposition from a Jewish religious establishment threatened with extinction.
The translation of Paulus from Hebrew to English was commissioned by Silk Road Rising.
Statement from Playwright Motti Lerner
Paulus explores neither the historical Paul nor the mythological Paul, but rather a psychological Paul. A Paul who witnessed the crucifixion and was traumatized by it. Paulus imagines the Apostle Paul as he's dragged from his prison cell to his execution site in Rome. Like the gospel writer, the playwright is not a historian; he is not interested in relaying facts but in revealing truths. The meaning of what happened is more important than what actually happened. Still, since we live in a world where truths and myths are continuously distorted by politicians, by clergy, and by the media, I want to make clear to the audience that I am not using any presumed lack of knowledge to manipulate them. I want the audience to trust the story, engage the story, argue with it, not reject it as somehow "false."
Statement from Artistic Director Jamil Khoury
His critics have characterized him as a body shaming, sex loathing, Jew hating, homophobic, misogynist. Others view the Apostle Paul in a much more reverent light. Playwright Motti Lerner sees in Paul a revolutionary Jewish thinker with a message as urgent today as it was two thousand years ago - universalism. But in writing a play about someone who once lived, a figure so central to Western Civilization, questions inevitably arise. Is Paulus historically accurate? Is Paulus biblically correct? Is Paulus an attack on Christian beliefs? Is Paulus a ruse to convert Jews? A resounding No! to the latter two questions and a qualified It depends to the first two. History cannot preserve the interior landscape of the Apostle Paul's mind, nor can scripture, but art sure can imagine it. Or, as Pablo Picasso said, "Art is the lie that brings us closer to truth." Hence, Paulus coexists quite seamlessly with the historical and biblical narratives, not as a replica or modern knock off, but as one artist's interpretation. Therein lie the play's truths, its accuracy and its correctness.
Paulus is a play for the biblically imaginative and the biblically literate. It is not for biblical literalists. Faith and doubt and historicity have a way of getting entangled. Motti Lerner is an Israeli Jewish atheist who embarked on a personal and artistic journey to understand both Jesus and Paul. Along the way he found himself fascinated with Paul's mission to universalize monotheism. Was he "fulfilling" Judaism, "completing" Judaism, or creating an entirely new religion?
Production & Performances
The design team includes: Dan Stratton (Set), Rebecca A. Barrett (Lighting), Elsa Hiltner (Costumes), Peter J. Storms (Sound), Jesse Gaffney (Props), and Neal Ryan Shaw (Dramaturg). The stage manager is Donald E. Claxon*. Assistant Director is George Bajalia.
* Denotes member of Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.
Previews of Paulus are Thursday, November 7 at 7:30 pm, Friday, November 8 at 8:00 pm, Saturday, November 9 at 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm, Sunday, November 10 at 4:00 pm, Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 pm and Friday, November 15 at 8:00 pm. The press opening is Saturday, November 16 at 4:00 pm. The production runs through Sunday, December 15. Curtain times are Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 4:00 pm and 8:00pm, and Sundays at 4:00 pm. There will be no performance on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 28).Tickets are $25.00 - $35.00. Tickets for Paulus ($25 for previews, $35 for regular run) are now on sale and can be purchased at www.silkroadrising.org or by phone: 312.857.1234 x 201.