BWW Interview: Gravity Players' Courtney Lomelo Talks Charlottesville, Harvey, and 'THE LAST DAYS of JUDAS ISCARIOT'
In Stephen Adly Guirgis' THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, the courtroom is in purgatory, the special witnesses include Jesus of Nazareth, Mother Teresa and the Devil, and the defendant is Judas Iscariot.
However, the proceedings are not unlike the trials of the mortal realm. The defense attorneys seek redemption for their client while the prosecuting attorneys seek damnation.
The Gravity Players theater group (in an Equity MPC Showcase) are to present the Pulitzer-Prize winner's play for the final time on Saturday, September 9th at the Chelsea Market Theatre.
Making up the Gravity Players are Courtney Lomelo, Patricia Duran, Luis Galindo, and James Belcher, key members of the Summer 2016 production of THE MOTHERF@*KER WITH THE HAT at Obsidian Theater. "The core group that worked on [THE MOTHERF@*KER WITH THE HAT] created a very good atmosphere to work in. We were all changed by working on that show and we wanted to do it on a greater scale and more often. This led us to starting Gravity Players and choosing THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT," says Lomelo.
Lomelo, Duran, and Galindo also wanted to produce a piece that resonated with the politically charged times we currently inhabit, but that wasn't a political play. "The political climate and the circus that is going on right now is drawing people away from the inner life." What the play does, she explains, is deal with the individual and the collective simultaneously, delving into universal themes like redemption, forgiveness, and hope.
"[THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT] asks a lot of questions that we should be looking at right now," she says. "Here we are at a point where we ask what do we do about Nazis."
It also addresses the tragedy we currently face. "The worst storm in Texas history happened to hit. In the midst of doing a biblical play, we were now dealing with biblical weather," she says. "We made a decision to cancel our Friday show when it was sprinkling because some of the cast was very concerned about getting stuck at the theatre.... We all woke up the following morning to rivers running through our yards and water creeping into our houses.
"The question now is how do we move forward," says Lomelo. Her answer: "We enrich ourselves by making the arts possible. That is what [the Gravity Players] are here for! To tell this story in the face of adversity, give the people a place to go and listen and share and take part in the culture of the arts and the Houston community."
James Belcher directs the Gravity Players production of THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT. The cast features Candice D'Meza, Patricia Duran, Nick Farco, Luis Galindo, Philip Hays, Roc Living, Courtney Lomelo, Paul Menzel*, Jeff Miller, and Josh Morrison. *Equity Member
The encore performance of THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, presented by Gravity Players, is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Chelsea Market Theatre, 4617 Montrose. For tickets, call 281-892-1323 or visit SpaceCityTix.com/gravityplayers. For more about Gravity Players, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/gravityplayers.