I was sitting with two buddies from college in the upper deck of Wrigley Field. Midway through the baseball game, Kevin turned to me and said, "I'm directing a play that I think you'll like. It's about Jesus and Judas. I'll send it to you."
Kevin and I graduated from the Theatre School at Chicago's DePaul University back in 1995. All my life to that point, I'd wanted to be an actor.
During college, my passion gradually shifted from acting to ministry. When I graduated, I simply didn't have the drive to pursue an acting career, so I considered this chapter of my life closed. I went to seminary and then into youth ministry, while Kevin and most of my college friends pursued theater and film. I kept up with their work, reading plays that friends were involved with, and trying to attend as many as possible. But Kevin's project would be different.
The play he sent me, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, was named one of the Top 10 plays of 2005 by Time. The play is set in a courtroom in Purgatory and centers around the trial of Judas Iscariot. Judas is in hell, and a renegade attorney brings his case before a judge and jury claiming that Judas has been unfairly condemned.
During his trial, key witnesses from history take the stand, including Mother Teresa, Sigmund Freud, Simon the Zealot, Caiaphas the Elder, Pontius Pilate, and Satan. It includes Saint Monica (Augustine's mother) as a foul-mouthed saint who revels in her role as a nag to God.
Jesus is there too, included as a hero.
Major themes of the play include despair, suicide, evil, and living with regret. It was a powerful play. Just reading the final scene brought tears to my eyes. I called Kevin as soon as I could. "Kevin, this is unbelievable! If there's anything I can do to ...