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"Judas" superstar actor dead

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Whew! Ok, it's not me...

As I'm currently rehearsing Superstar and am playing Judas, I emailed my director yesterday and told him about it. I also reminded him we open during the Ides of March.

Tomorrow I'll say 'MacBeth' onstage.

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Absolutely. I've made some choices based upon several hypotheses in studying up on the million dollar 'Why did Judas do it?' question.

The majority of people who find out I'm Judas go "OOooo, you're the bad guy! You're gonna be all slimy and evil and stuff!'

They're a bit taken a aback when I say "No, not really. I'm playing a regular guy who thinks Jesus is letting his popularity sabotage his power and fighting to get him to see that. When he refuses to listen I align myself with the Sanhedrin to cover my butt mixed with a subliminal curiosity that wonders if he'll comes to his senses when I turn him over. After his new captors start beating him I feel horribly guilty because I realize I never had his interests in mind at all, but my own, and I can't bring myself to reconcile myself to God because rather than humble myself I blame him for the mess I'm in and in the depths of my downcastness I take my life."

They say 'But Judas was just greedy, he did it for the money.'

Then I explain that Judas was their treasurer, and though he helped himself at times from the purse he did walk with them as a disciple and was generally considered a brother. The Sanhedrin paying him off was later--and 30 pieces of silver really wasn't that much, more of an incentive to sweeten the already brewing pot.

They've asked 'But what about when Satan enters into him? What do you do?'

I say 'Well, I do what I usually do when I sin--I rebel against God and seek my own interests. In this case, I go sell him out.'

'You don't do anything physically?'

'Yeah, actually--I stand up to him, tell him he's pathetic and that it's his fault our ideals are dying because he's caved to popularity instead of principles.'

'So you're playing him sympathetically?!? But he's doomed to destruction, he's anti-Christ!'

'No, it's written sympathetically. There are moments Judas wants the other disciples to see his point, to sympathize with him, sure--but I'm playing him as an idealist who thinks he's looking out for the disciples' best interest but is actually too caught up in his own selfish ambitions to understand that his thinking is of the world rather than the Kingdom of heaven, and his pride is too great to bend his knee to ask forgiveness.'

'But he's was predestined, wasn't he? He had no choice--he was evil.'

'I've thought on this, studied it--and I've come to the conclusion that because God is ever-Present, existing outside of our concept of 'time', just because he foreknew Judas' betrayal doesn't mean he 'made him do it.' If you or I travel to the future, see someone murder our son, then come back to the present and have a child, I don't believe the onus is upon us to defend ourselves for the murder of the child even though we knew full well it was going to happen.'

Yeah, that's a meaty bite, I know--and open to all sorts of free-will versus predestination versus speculative theology attacks, but it's a summation at best of a conceptual notion that I can live with for the duration: I'm not really into the whole debate.

So my portrayal of Judas is probably as unorthodox as the role itself. To me, Judas was not 'just a nasty greedy thief.' If he were, he never would have given up everything to follow Christ for three years, never have been sent out as a member of the teams to preach, and never been trusted with the finances. There was something more, something to him that enabled those with him to accept him for that time--and within, the burgeoning sin nature waging war with his soul and, ultimately, overcoming his flesh as Satan himself pushed him over the edge.

I don't play him as evil. I don't play him as a hero. I play him as a man seeking his best interests, becoming more and more skeptical and suspicious and afraid of the route his leader is taking, until finally he makes the decision to abandon the man who claims to be the son of God and align himself with the powers right in front of him--choosing the safe realm of the world over the insubstantial promise of a vague, heavenly kingdom.

smile.gif

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Clint M   

Absolutely. I've made some choices based upon several hypotheses in studying up on the million dollar 'Why did Judas do it?' question.  

The majority of people who find out I'm Judas go \"OOooo, you're the bad guy! You're gonna be all slimy and evil and stuff!'

They're a bit taken a aback when I say \"No, not really. I'm playing a regular guy who thinks Jesus is letting his popularity sabotage his power and fighting to get him to see that. When he refuses to listen I align myself with the Sanhedrin to cover my butt mixed with a subliminal curiosity that wonders if he'll comes to his senses when I turn him over.  After his new captors start beating him I feel horribly guilty because I realize I never had his interests in mind at all, but my own, and I can't bring myself to reconcile myself to God because rather than humble myself I blame him for the mess I'm in and in the depths of my downcastness I take my life.\"

Interesting. I've never fully thought of Judas that way.

So my portrayal of Judas is probably as unorthodox as the role itself. To me, Judas was not 'just a nasty greedy thief.' If he were, he never would have given up everything to follow Christ for three years, never have been sent out as a member of the teams to preach, and never been trusted with the finances. There was something more, something to him that enabled those with him to accept him for that time--and within, the burgeoning sin nature waging war with his soul and, ultimately, overcoming his flesh as Satan himself pushed him over the edge.  

I don't play him as evil. I don't play him as a hero. I play him as a man seeking his best interests, becoming more and more skeptical and suspicious and afraid of the route his leader is taking, until finally he makes the decision to abandon the man who claims to be the son of God and align himself with the powers right in front of him--choosing the safe realm of the world over the insubstantial promise of a vague, heavenly kingdom.

smile.gif

I like that. We often get this one-note idea of Judas from the portrayals that we've seen of him in many different plays. Your interpretation is most likely closer to the truth.

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Thanks. As an actor you have to make choices, y'know, to lend credence to the life you're creating. I can't stand performances where the sole driving objective of the villain is 'To Be the Bad Guy'--and sadly, many of the perceptions of Judas are 'He was just wicked.'

The objective I have chosen is to protect my interests. My greatest obstacle is my interests are not Christ's. At first I thought they were...now they're going in a direction I hadn't anticipated...

Thinking on it more, it unnerves me that Judas really wasn't a whole lot different from anyone else. He didn't have super powers, or wear a black trenchcoat, and he probably didn't slick his hair back and arch his brows and chortle malevolently every time the angry authorities tried to snare Jesus. It unnerves me that many of the churchgoing folks who understand that Judas betrayed Christ don't understand that but for the grace of God they're most probably a lot like he was, with little to reveal his flawed character save for occasional personal uses of the money they all carried and a self-serving attitude (which several of the apostles displayed more vocally in the Bible).

It's not that I believe we should have 'sympathy for the devil,' but rather be aware that the man doomed to destruction could be the man next to us on the bus, in the neighboring cubicle, even the man in the pew behind us--that the presence of evil can be as subtle as a choice made in secret and simple as an opinion unwilling to change.

Playing this role really pushes me to examine my choices and to evaluate my own priorities, to 'watch my life and doctrine closely.' I used to really like this musical--I still like parts of it, but my opinion of the totality of the piece has changed quite drastically since taking it on. It could be used, if a director chose, to glorify Christ. For the most part, it is written in a fashion which alternately mocks and disbelieves Christ's authority, which is hard to reconcile with my own belief--and I'm playing the character who is largely responsible for the dissent.

Unfortunately, I'm not getting any direction but blocking in this one, and most of the cast has to fend for themselves--gratefully, that's what I spent thousands of dollars and hours on to be prepared for. wink.gif I continually find it amazing how much impact a director's choices make upon a piece. If the members of this forum were all given the same script, every version would have unique qualities.

God is awesome in the diversity he grants.

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Intersting quote from Carl (while he was here):

      I HAVE TRIED TO INTRODUCE SPIRITUALITY AS A CONCEPT, NOT A SET OF DOCTRINES.  

      In doing so I, myself have realized a more complete acceptance and love of God. ONE GOD all powerful and all-loving. A God who is forgiving and not prone to bribery or retribution. I know that in my son's own way and in his own time he will embrace Spirit in some way -- maybe a way very different from my personal experience.  

      OH, THE CIRCLE OF LIFE!  

      ONE GIVES AND RECEIVES LOVE IN ABUNDANCE FROM BOTH ENDS OF THE HEART.

<snipped out sports critique>

I AM SPENDING THE NEXT FEW MONTHS IN ITALY. As I'm writing this I am in Genoa. Then on to Milan, and Torino. We open at the OLYMPIC THEATER in ROME on EASTER (Pasqua) Week.  

      I'm portraying my friend JUDAS ISCARIOT for the last time, as part of the VATICAN'S JUBILEE 2000!  

      I'm trying my hand incidentally at directing and overall artistic oversight as well.

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I just noticed on the back of the libretto for the Superstar:

"A biblical bonanza of stirring, luminous and impassioned rock opera about the healing and joyous quality of love."

--The Record--

...

What play were they watching?!?

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