Preview-The Last Days of Judas Iscariot- Aurora Theatre


By: Meaghan McGurgan

HKELD sat down and chatted with cast members of the upcoming production of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

"It's very philosophical but it makes you think. And it's very funny!"- Harry Oram

Aurora Theatre has come to be known in town as a theatre company that likes to push the envelope. From a female cast of Glengarry Glenn Ross to producing new work by local authors with their annual C&C productions, Aurora Theatre led by their Artistic Director, Nicole Garbellini doesn't shy away from edgy material. Their latest production, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is sure to create some buzz in the community. Religion is always a taboo topic for the stage but not for playwright Steven Adley Guirgis.

Guirgis, an award winning playwright out of New York was born to an Egyptian father and Irish Catholic mother. Because of the cross cultural and cross religious background his plays always seem to have religion as reoccurring themes. Jesus has been a character in four of his plays, to date. This play was brought to Broadway back in 2005, helmed under the direction of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It is not without controversy as it was boycotted by the Catholic League and the Westboro Church when it premiered.

Hong Kong's production is under the direction of Brad Powers. You may have seen Brad in Aurora Theatre's C&C's of the past two years or in Hong Kong Player's Rabbit Hole. When asked about the themes of the play he states, "The play is an affirmation of what Christianity is really about, which is lack of judgment of others. The idea of universal love is all true, it's all encompassing. Jesus at the ends of the play comes out and says 'If you hate who I love then you don't know me at all'... If God's love is all true than it should be extended to Judas and he shouldn't be villified."

This play has a huge cast of the who's who's in the Hong Kong's art scene. There is no doubt you know someone who's in this show. Town favorites like Lester Clark, Nicole Garbellini, Harry Oram, Neil Runcieman and Matthew Gillespie are in the show; as well as new faces like David Ogilvie, Terngu Tyoer and Natalie Lund. Be prepared for a cast that is diverse. Actor David Ogilvie who plays Pontius Pilate states, "This is my first play in Hong Kong. I've had a lot of fun and it's opened a whole new avenue for me. I've made new friends and had a great time... And I liked to give a special thanks to Brad, the director. He's really done a sterling job."

However, this is not exactly a show that you should bring the kiddies to. "I'm sure they (the audience) will have mixed feeling about it... All the characters in the play are redeemable and trying to work their way to heaven from purgatory... This play ultimately is about love and hope." Miss Garbellini says. The show contains adult themes and language and is recommended for children sixteen or older due to content.

When asked about the controversial themes in the play, Lester Clark says, "Whether you're religious or not it'll challenge a lot of ideas. It has a lot of twists on old ideas." His personal favorite is how Hell is represented in the play.

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot has been going around town promoting the show with the usual flyers and Facebook campaign but they've also made a YouTube trailer to give audiences a taste of the show.


Having sat down and seen just a short ten minute preview of the show we're sure audiences will enjoy seeing religious characters as they've never seen them before. Susan Lavendar's Mother Teresa costume is very good. We did a double take when we saw her! And Lester Clark's accent for El Fayoumy is inspired by Gypsy Punk band, Gogol Bordello. The cast is making brave and bold choices.














Clark's character is quite interesting. The play is set in purgatory but El Fayoumy comes up from Hell to put Judas on trial. Harry Oram gave a bit of secret information that makes us a bit sad, "A lot of people don't know this is Lester's last performance in Hong Kong. Everyone should come out and see him because I think he's really amazing."

The Last Days of Judas Iscariot is playing at the McAulay Theatre in Wanchai April 10th-13th. There is a Saturday matinee and although the Friday and Saturday evening shows are pretty full there are plenty of seats left for the weekday and matinee shows. You can hear more about the show on HKELD's latest podcast where actor, Neil Runcieman came on and chatted with us. For even more information click here or go to their official facebook page.

*Photos were taken by Sheungology


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