November 20, 2013
By Hedy Weiss
Part Biblical pageant, part theological argument play, “Paulus,” which is receiving a richly atmospheric production, looks back to the period when, after the crucifixion of Jesus, the title character (born Saul), split from traditional Jewish doctrine, converted to Christianity and proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah. In a nutshell at the core of Paulus’ dramatic shift is a rejection of the notion that believers should strictly abide by the 613 commandments of Jewish law. Instead, he wanted to spread the gospel and welcome gentiles into the fold, creating a more open and immediately rewarding sense of salvation.
Artfully directed by Jimmy McDermott (on a fine set by Dan Stratton), the cast is strongly led by Daniel Cantor as the brutally abused Paulus, with Anthony DiNicola as his sweet, Sancho Panza-like attendant; Torrey Hanson as an aged “ghost” of Jesus; and Bill McGough, Dana Black, Carolyn Hoerdemann, Glenn Stanton and D’Wayne Taylor in supporting roles.