Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Judas Super Star

I just came back from the theater. I saw the portuguese version of Jesus Christ Superstar. I liked Judas! See his video above. He kicks ass. Today we got the substitute for the main Jesus Christ, not the one you see on the video above, and I think that was a pitty. If he was meant to be the main atraction, he certainly wasn't today. Judas took over in my opinion. People still applauded Jesus a bit more, but I think it was just for convention.

Overall, it was nice. I'm a bit confused about this play, mixed feelings. I didn't like how they chose to start it: in the first minutes of the play you see images of new york, in a huge screen, almost 3 times the size of a cinema screen, and then you see the 9/11 scenes, the plane crashing..... and... I mean, why?

I know they meant to update the play, and refer to the religious wars nowadays, but it was just not justified and very shocking. I was trying to hold the tears in and not being able to. And I didn't like that, too violent. I shut down emotionally quite a bit after that and was more cinical during the rest of the play. Lack of sensitivity, is my first critique.

Also it's a very flashy kind of show, kind of like Cirque du Soleil, and the production/ setting and the actors were just not up to it, most of the actors weren't that good, problably because they casted them for the singing abilities above all. That was a bit distracting sometimes. I tend to be a bitch with performing arts. I try not to. They make me itchy if they aren't really good. I did gain some respect for actors after doing a workshop of public speaking with an actor a few weeks ago. It can be a real art to use your body and soul to... well, pretend you're someone else. But as it may be obvious along this post, I have a bit of a problem with non realistic things.

The mixed feelings are mostly because the story of jesus is so well known, and most people, and certainly I, have our own interpretation of what happened and how. I guess that is the whole point of the play: to be rebelious and -at the time it came out, circa 1973 - be revolutionary, and show the jewish version of who Jesus was, just a man. They don't show the ressurection. It ends in the death.

note: the following paragraph is a post scriptum edit, so nevermind if it's not too coherent with the next piece of text.

-> I'm realizing Judas is "secretly"- in the sense it's not too obvious - meant to be the hero. He does die in the end, just as Jesus. He dies in remorse. But he does come back! He sort of resurrects and comes back with black wings, some time after in the play! OMG! How ironic. It is ironic that this video above is publicised by a catholic institution, and the voice-off at the theater is a well known radio guy who talks about his christian faith publicly, and the theater was filled with old catholic looking people mostly. This is what saturn -mercury will do to you. I take my sweet time to figure things out. I wonder if other people figured Judas is the hero in Jesus christ Super star. Oh the irony.

Pre insight text -> The characters are very human in a "plutonic" way: very visceral, not mystical or spiritual at all. That is the only original thing in the play. Which i liked but causes the mixed feelings I mentioned, created an opposition between my interpretation of the story and the author's. I think it would have been more realistic to portray the followers of Jesus like a new age cult nowadays, people a little lost and tending to fanaticism, but I guess that wasn't common at all in the pre Jesus era. He started the trend. Before him religions were pretty much like they are now again, mostly conventional rituals, traditions. He began the cult feeling. The spiritual-minority truth-holders-missionary thing. Not enough sociological studies on those.

One thing wasn't either original nor realistic at all. Jesus was a jew, he wasn't a nordic blue eyed blond hair barbie man. He was dark and had a long nose like jews do. He definatly wasn't blond. But that is also the way he is portrayed in the catholic paintings all over my grandmother's house, a barbie doll. Judas is mixed race, of course! In the original play he is dark as night actually.

They - not exactly made a caricature - but made each character into an archetype. The bad and the good. The black and the white. And the purple. This is more obvious in the secondary characters. The priests are very "evil witch". Judas is the more complex one. And he seems to be a bit jeoulous of Jesus and Magdalene sometimes. There's a very gay and sexualized energy to the play all along. A tad of venezualian-soap-opera kind of love triangle. Which is interesting. It's rebelious to wonder the motivations of the people behind such a religious story.

The main characters, Judas, Peter and Magdalene seem to beleive Jesus isn't God, he's a mere man, an iluded man, which they love (and lust) nonetheless. People of no faith!!!! :) Did make me remember that the idea of faith being a good thing began after Jesus. That's when it became real important at least. Before, when Moses was leading the jews accross the desert and they were bitchin all the way, lacking faith, Moses would complain and bitch back, but no problem, God would still send the mana to feed them and keep them safe nontheless. Trying to prove himself to them. After Jesus that changed. no faith, no deal.

I loved Judas, he is extremely talented and a hottie.

III P.S. - In defense of my brain, I have to say it really isn't obvious that Judas is the hero. He is very sexualized and agressive, and a traitor!.. and he's in black, and he commits suicide, and when he comes back with his wings, he comes back in a sort of boys band, they all have black wings. The message that he is the hero is very subliminal. It only came to my attention this play might be a jewish version of the events because I read someone mention that on youtube just now, fecthing that video above. I didn't watch the play expecting it to be anti christ. And they sure don't make it in-your-face obvious like they do with all the other secondary characters. He's a man that beleives what he is doing, though he has a human side too, being afraid of dying. That shows he wasn't a psycho. He is very respected... as a human, never as God. I didn't give that much thought though -just got a little ich at the lack of historic accuracy - because I thought it was acceptable, that will just make the ressurection that much more spectacular... but no. Only Judas came back from death. Judas the hell raising, Jesus lusting traitor.

Jesus is the one that takes center stage at the end and names the play and all! And all the christians go an see it and applaude Jesus at the end.

Oh god. I'm having a saturn-mercury crisis. Do you think I might be retarded? I'll ask my bf if he figured it out. He's usually pretty quick at that sort of thing. If he didn't i'll calm down.

It is very sarcastic that Jesus is portrayed as a barbie man. Shows the shear ignorance people have about who he was. Now I see why this play is such a classic. It appeals to all people, the christians enjoy the publicity to Jesus either way, i'm sure. It's pretty brilliant actually. Not the fact it appeals to all, but the play itself, it's potencially an awesome show in the right conditions.

Maybe I didn't get it because I couldn't understand all the words they were singing, and the acting wasn't that great.

I watched a clip of the Judas in the JCSS movie and he made it a bit more clear that he was a nice person, divided. This Judas today was more raged all the time, crazed. It was confusing. The director might have adapted a little, to make it harder for people to get it. Because portugal is a very religious country, he wouldn't have an audience if people were understanding the message. Really ironic that christian man was the voice off of the play. Ok, enough rambling about this.


Devil Mood said...

"Do you think I might be retarded?"

You certainly have a lot of dillemas thinking about these things. I don't know what to tell you. I tend to be a bitch to Arts in general...I don't think I'd watch this show, but I feel retarded for saying that.
I think in all arts things are put into categories and archetypes and the good and the evil and it's the way we like them, the way anyone can understand.

Violet said...

:) I was half kidding. Because I do have these thoughts. I seriously questioned myself, but just for a few seconds, and then i wrote it just because i think it's funny how seriously I can question myself something like that.
I also think I'm a genius sometimes. I feel like a genious now that and notice that most people didn't get it at all.

Devil Mood said...

I think it's good that you feel genial - it means exciting things are happening in your head!