November 20, 2013
The stories of Jesus, his disciples and the trouble they caused have great potential for artistic interpretation. Silk Road Rising has invested a great deal of time and energy in Paulus, one such story chronicling the Apostle Paul and his uphill battle to universalize monotheism. The passionate theater company worked with Israeli playwright Motti Lerner, commissioned Hillel Halkin’s translation and hosted readings and workshops surrounding the play this past year. Some aspects of Paulus, such as its production values and cast, are incredibly successful.
Rebecca A. Barrett’s lighting is gloriously moody, a perfect match for Peter J. Storms’ original score, an innovative blend of traditional Jewish and Christian musical forms and American shapenote singing. Dan Stratton’s set and Jesse Gaffney’s props incorporate PVC pipe in incredible ways, and Paulus’ bright red garb speaks well to costume designer Hiltner. Additionally, Paulus boasts an excellent cast ably led by director Jimmy McDermott. Dana Black’s rich speaking voice is a pleasure to listen to, and D’Wayne Taylor handles intensity well as an alcoholic leader. Torrey Hanson is appropriately guarded as the reimagined Jesus, and Daniel Cantor’s Paulus is never anything less than genuine and dedicated. As Greek servant Trophimus, Anthony DiNicola provides comic relief and real angst without going over-the-top. Glenn Stanton is the play’s standout, shining in a double role: as Paulus’ devoted nephew Eleazar, he fumbles and tries to protect an uncle who’s already long gone. And in the role of Nero, he’s terrifying, seductive and utterly captivating. Paulus is worth seeing.