Craig Smith & Elise Stone of “Judas”

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents JUDAS, written by Robert Patrick, directed by Craig SmithListen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble Artistic Director Craig Smith, who directs & plays “Pontius Pilate” in the company’s new production of Robert Patrick’s Judas, along with fellow cast-member Elise Stone (“Mary”), discuss giving equal weight to both sides, the drama of philosophical arguments, the challenge of living a good life, “blasphemy,” libertarianism and faith, communication breakdowns between mothers and sons, what happens when we see our heroes as humans, and how to answer the big question: “what are we supposed to do?”

“…I think that’s a dilemma for anyone who’s trying to live some kind of ethical, humane life in a really messed up world. And the world is really messed up for Judas, and the world is really messed up for all of us right now. So when I listen to Judas’s struggle, I feel like it’s so human. There’s all these wonderful words, and all this wonderful language…and then there’s this real human-ness…”

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Craig Smith, Lori Parquet, Ariel Estrada, Elise Stone, Stacey Raymond, and Layan Elwazani of “The Cult Play”

Phoenix Theatre Ensemble presents THE CULT PLAY, written by Topher Cusumano and directed by Irene LazaridisListen in as Phoenix Theatre Ensemble‘s producing artistic director Craig Smith, along with performers Lori Parquet, Ariel Estrada, Elise Stone, Stacey Raymond, and Layan Elwazani¬†of the company’s world premiere production of Topher Cusumano’s The Cult Play, discuss the play’s resonance with the current zeitgeist, how defense of one’s identity can put others in harm’s way, technology’s place in telling a story in the theatre, killing different characters in different drafts,¬†surviving cults, what we believe and why we believe it, “truth” vs. “certainty,” and the responsibility of not just the leader, but of those who choose to follow them.

“…2.5 million Americans have been in cults in the past 30 or 40 years. It’s pretty widespread, and I think cults are enormously interesting. I think all of us, on some level, feel wounded, and maybe a bit fragile, and I think we’re more fragile than we think that we are, and we come under the spell of these folks like Mama Pearl […]”
“You don’t have to go political with this play. If you’re on Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever, you already follow someone…”

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