The Passion (Play) Reimagined

The last days of Christ on earth have been the subject of numerous passion plays around the world. But a new play imagines those dark days from an unusual perspective, that of Judas. From March 6-26, Jeffrey S. Miller, professor of theatre arts, will be heading to Minneapolis, MN, to direct Kingdom Undone, Jeremiah Gamble’s new play that focuses on the interaction between Judas and Jesus. (Gamble was one of Miller’s former students who performed last year at Gordon as well.) Kingdom Undone premieres at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, March 22-April 8. Miller’s director notes offer this perspective on the project:

“In seeking to preserve da Vinci’s 15th century painting The Last Supper, well-meaning restoration efforts have added oil paint, glue and shellac to maintain the work over the centuries. While it’s likely we would no longer have this classic piece had not such effort been made, the most recent restoration, completed in 1999 and carefully executed with the latest scientific techniques to get as close to the original as possible, has revealed that Da Vinci’s colors were much more vivid than any had previously expected.

This seems an apt (if limited) metaphor for Kingdom Undone. The original witnesses to the events of this play have told a story that has changed the world – a fantastical, tragic, astonishing and inspiring record. Over the years, it has become laden, covered and burdened with all manner of theological, philosophical, linguistic, social and cultural ‘stuff’ intended to preserve but sometimes blunting the vivid impact of the original.

The intent of this play is to recover some of the power of the original story in all its vibrant human color in a way that allows people to see it fully again. It makes no claim to be historically accurate but does strive for a truthfulness that captures something those witnesses experienced. Where it falls short, we hope you at least see the impulse to restore as worthwhile. Where it succeeds, we hope you experience something of what originally moved a small group of middle-Eastern Hebrew followers to give up their lives for.

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