Judith | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader


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JUDITH, Rogue Theater, at Breadline Theatre Laboratory. In the Old Testament, Judith saves the Israelites from attack by charming Assyrian general Holofernes, then killing him in his sleep. But Jean Giraudoux in his 1931 play proposes that Judith was a pampered young woman who consented to the seduce-and-destroy mission out of arrogance, that her target seduced her with the promise of experience beyond her boring life at home, and that carrying out her bloody deed was easier than capitulating to the "official" story.

Giraudoux's focus appears to be the conflict between the individual and the status quo. In the play, Judith refuses to preserve her virginity by having a lookalike prostitute impersonate her, then finds herself humiliated by an enemy soldier posing as Holofernes. Convinced that God is playing her for a fool, the headstrong assassin considers flouting his orders and following her own desires.

Under the capable direction of Nate White (also a regal Holofernes), the actors give Giraudoux's didactic text emotional vigor in this uncluttered, thought-provoking evening. Lisa Stran White projects a tragic dignity as Judith, and Kipp Moorman nearly steals the final scene as an angel come to reveal God's plan for his rebellious servant.


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