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CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program Presents THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT

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Directed by David Vegh, this production will be streamed virtually from December 2 – 6, 2020.

CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program Presents THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT

The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House (CWRU/CPH) MFA Acting Program Class of 2022 returns as an ensemble in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot written by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Directed by David Vegh, this production will be streamed virtually from December 2 - 6, 2020. The cast includes Isaac Baker, Kristina Gabriela, Bridget Kim, Gustavo Marquez, Santino Montanez, Nnamdi Okpala, Chris Portley, Sarthak Shah, Jordan Taylor, Noah Williams, and Sara Young. Tickets to all virtually streamed performances are $5 and are available at www.clevelandplayhouse.com.

Set in a time-bending, darkly comic world between heaven and hell, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot reexamines the plight and fate of the New Testament's most infamous and unexplained sinner.

Was Judas Iscariot given a bad rap? Was he guilty until proven innocent? In this dazzling, profane, funny and razor-sharp play, Pulitzer-Prize winning writer, Stephen Adly Guirgis takes us on a journey to unearth the "truth" about Judas. Set in a courtroom in purgatory, the play challenges the audience to consider the big questions: How do we balance faith with reason? Does evil really exist? And can we ever forgive anyone if we can't first forgive ourselves?

The original production premiered Off-Broadway in a LAByrinth Theatre Company production at The Public Theatre in 2005, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The play received its West End/European premiere in 2008 at the Almeida Theatre, and was directed by Rupert Goold.

In March 2020, the CWRU/CPH MFA Class of 2022 was scheduled to make their debut in Will Eno's Middletown directed by Donald Carrier. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the production was cancelled, however the ensemble was able to perform for a special "one-night-only" invited audience at their final dress rehearsal.

Jeffrey Ullom, Interim Chair of the CWRU Department of Theater shares, "This cohort has faced unique and unforeseen challenges during the past year, from the cancellation of their production to the modality of actor training through a computer screen. However, the mission statement for our program is to seek new artistic challenges, both individual and as a cohort." Ullom adds, "These performances are the embodiment of that challenge by asking our actors to persevere and adapt by utilizing a progressive, complex script presented through virtual means."

Donald Carrier, Director of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program says, "In the second year of training, our students are given increasingly more challenging material in terms of style, language and imagery. Stephen Adly Guirgis is a master in all of those areas and our students have relished the experience." Carrier adds, "Even within the limitations of remote performance, they have capitalized on the intimacy of the medium and created dynamic and detailed work."

At the helm of this production, Director David Vegh states, "This highly irreverent and darkly comic play uses the story of Judas Iscariot to explore deep and probing philosophical questions about morality, culpability and the nature of forgiveness." Vegh says, "As a playwright, Stephen Adly Guirgis rides a wonderful line between creating compelling characters and highly entertaining stories while also making the audience think. By reimagining traditional Biblical characters in the language of contemporary urban-speak, Guirgis brings them down to earth, and humanizes them in a way that even the most diverse of today's audiences can relate to."

CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley says, "CPH audiences may be familiar with the writer Stephen Adly Guirgis from our 2017 production of Between Riverside and Crazy. Like that show, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is darkly comic, provocative, and relies on the strength, agility, and dynamism of the ensemble." Kepley adds, "I am very proud of the Class of 2022 for nurturing and developing the trust, precision, and responsiveness necessary for great ensemble work and bringing that to this new digital stage."

Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House gratefully acknowledge The Cleveland Foundation and Tom F. and Anne Degnan for sponsoring the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program.

Additional funding for the Lumination Station Projection project was provided by a Nord Grant from the University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education (UCITE) at Case Western Reserve University.

TICKET INFORMATION

Registration for all performances is required in advance. Viewing access is $5 per household. The event will be broadcast on ZOOM and can be viewed on a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Patrons can purchase viewing tickets exclusively by visiting www.clevelandplayhouse.com.


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