Backstage: SUDS prepares for Judas Iscariot

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Preparations are well underway for the Stirling University Drama Society’s (SUDS) performance of Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

The play is set in modern-day purgatory, where Judas of Iscariot is on appeal to the court to decide his fate after betraying Jesus.

Director/producer Phoebe Jenkin described the play as a “courtroom drama and dark comedy, which SUDS has not done before”.

They have collaborated with AirTV to make a reality-style docuseries showing the rehearsal process. Two more episodes will be released and you can watch the first one here.

Brig went behind the scenes and joined a rehearsal before the production premiers on Tuesday, October 10.

Script of Judas of Iscariot, Act 2.
Image Credit. Instagram @Paulandrewcowie

Why is the SUDS show different?

It is safe to say that SUDS is making the play its own. Roman soldiers are dressed in baseball caps and trackies, and Pontius Pilate’s character will be Glaswegian.

Director/producers, Jenkin and Petra Hanusova said: “Because this play is set in purgatory, it’s not set in any particular time era.

“That meant we could really experiment with the clothing options and the characters aren’t dressed as if they’re from one time era.”

Unlike other productions, the SUDS actors have been able to interpret their own characters.

Jenkin told Brig, “Most of our first week of rehearsals was spent with actors sitting down as their characters in a ‘hot seat’.

“We’d ask them questions about what their character would do, their life story, and their favourite colour. That way they could really get to know their character.

“We found that after most people have read the play, it becomes one of their favourites.”

Phoebe Jenkin – Director/Producer

“We spent a long time thinking about who each of the characters were as the three directors. But we also got the characters to think of that.”

Richard Porter, who plays Pontius Pilate said: “My character has a Glaswegian accent that it’s not meant to have. It’s a bit different and it’s good fun.”

SUDS directors Phoebe, Eilidh, and Petra.
SUDS directors Phoebe Jenkin, Eilidh Brown, and Petra Hanusova. Image Credit. Paul Cowie

After the successes of their last plays  And Then There Were None and Shakespeare’s Macbeth, SUDS members wanted to tackle something a bit different.

Hanusova said: “At first, I thought it was going to be really religious. It turns out it’s just a very fun play and I love it now. At the first read through, a lot of people were laughing”.


The Last Days of Judas Iscariot will be performed at the Macrobert Arts Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (October 10-11), as well as a matinee performance on Wednesday.

Tickets and showtimes can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: Paul Cowie.

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Third year English and Journalism student at the University of Stirling 🙂

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