“Paulus” Review – A World Premiere and A Meaningful Discussion

The world premiere of Motti Lerner’s Paulus is currently presented by Silk Road Rising, who commissioned the translation of Paulus from Hebrew into English, The play is directed by Jimmy McDermott and runs 2 hours including one 10-minute intermission.


Paulus unfolds between 58 C.E. and 64 C.E., providing a unique glimpse into the latter years of Second Temple Judaism and the Apostolic Age of early Christianity, a period characterized by political tumult, social upheaval, fierce theological battles, and an increasingly brutal Roman occupation of Judea.  


PAULUS explores Paulus of Tarsus (Turkey), the bridger of Christianity from a Jewish sect to a Gentile religion, and his vision to universalize monotheism in the face of strong opposition by the Jewish Establishment, the Jerusalem Church, and the Emperor Nero.  This historical drama weaves through Paul's past and present, guided by his fears and inspirations, and dramatizes the role that Jesus played on Paul's psyche after Jesus' crucifixion. 


Motti Lerner is a playwright and a screenwriter who was born in Israel in 1949. Motti teaches playwriting at the Kibbutz College in Tel Aviv and most of his plays and films deal with political issues.  In her article in The Jewish News, Pangs of an Apostle, dated 11/15/213, Pauline Dubkin Yearwood beautifully and clearly tells about Motti Lerner and the how and why of his writing Paulus and its significance. Read it

The audience meets a 62-year-old Jesus (Torrey Hanson), and an egomaniacal Emperor Nero (Glenn Stanton) who was terrific, who torment the ailing psyche of the Apostle Paul as he struggles to universalize monotheism against fierce opposition from a Jewish religious establishment threatened with spiritual extinction.



Featuring:  Daniel Cantor*(Paulus), Torrey Hanson (Jesus)*, Bill McGough (Hananiah)*, Dana Black (Drusilla), Anthony DiNicola (Trophimos) Kroydell Galima  (ensemble) Carolyn Hoerdemann (Adima), Scott Shimizu (ensemble), Glenn Stanton (Nero, Eleazar) and D’wayne Taylor (Lysias and Felix).



Design Team: Dan Stratton (Set), Rebecca A. Barrett (Lighting), Elsa Hiltner (Costumes), Peter J. Storms (Sound & Original Score), Jesse Gaffney (Props), and Neal Ryan Shaw (Dramaturg). The stage manager is Donald E. Claxon*.  Assistant Director is George Bajalia.


This play tackles big, controversial ideas. I was not familiar with many of the facts and characters and was pleased that there is helpful material.  Discussions are held following the performances on Thursday and Sunday and I suggest that if this is an area that you are not familiar with, the discussion would be very helpful.

I had the opportunity to join an adult education discussion at the Jewish Reconstructionists Congregation (JRC)  in Evanston.  When the audience was invited to the evening event, I decided to go because I wanted the chance to hear more of Motti’s ideas and the JRC building is currently the “greenist” in the world, two “way out” ideas in one night. The discussion was lively and interactive.  However, you can find most of what was discussed in “A Conversation with Motti Lerner” which is part of the program for Paulus, with Jamil Khoury offering questions for Motti Lerner to answer.  I have found that the play opened my awareness of ideas and information new to me and I find myself fascinated, and wanting to learn more.  I encourage you to experience this production for yourself. Performing through December 15, 2013

Performance Schedule:
Thursdays: 7:30pm+

Fridays: 8:00pm

Saturdays: 4:00pm & 8:00pm

Sundays: 4:00pm

+ There will be no performance on Thanksgiving: November 28, 2013.

Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St. (lower level) Chicago.

$35.00 regular performances.

Box Office:
To purchase tickets visitSilk Road Rising website or call 312.857.1234 x 201


$8 parking for patrons at Self Park, 230 W Washington St (corner of Washington & Franklin, building with Cosi restaurant).  Request discount voucher from box office.

For more information about PAULUS, visit Silk Road Rising website


Photos by Michael Brosilow

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