The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
In darkness and rain, a woman emerges. Henrietta Iscariot, mother of Biblical betrayer Judas Iscariot, approaches the audience to tell her side of the famous story. She expresses the grief a parent feels in burying her own child. In her case, she had to bury her son alone: her husband was dead, and Judas’ sisters and friends refused to attend his funeral. She recalls the surge of joy and love that filled her body when she gave birth to her son. She rounds up her case with a blunt accusation: if her son is in Hell, as the whole world tells her, then there is no God.
In silence, Jesus appears carrying a bucket. He crosses to Henrietta and kisses her on the cheek, but she does not notice Him.
Act One: “Domine Adjuva Incredulitatem Meam” (translation: “Lord, Help My Unbelief”)
Lights come up on a bustling courtroom scene. A woman with angelic wings, Gloria, rises from her seat to explain to the audience where they’ve arrived. This is a courtroom in Hope, located between Heaven and Hell, in downtown Purgatory. Contrary to popular philosophical or religious beliefs about Purgatory, it is actually a pretty nice place, fully equipped with plumbing, bodegas, a movie theatre, and a dog park. Hope, however, is a little less pleasant. Gloria explains that every civilization creates a different version of Hope. For example, in Biblical times, Hope was an oasis in the desert. To medieval generations, Hope was a shack, free of the plague. To today’s modern civilization, Hope is a courtroom, “‘litigation’ being the preferred new order of the day.”
Judge Littlefield presides over this court of appeals. The cases of those petitioning to move from Hell or Purgatory to Heaven are brought to him. Many are quickly denied (we see Henry Wayne Masters and Benedict Arnold get a quick nix,) and when a petition for Judas Iscariot arises, he assumes it must be a ludicrous joke.
Not so; Fabiana Aziza Cunningham, a lawyer living in Purgatory, announces that she has come to appeal for