In 1948, Antonin Artaud, French poet, playwright, actor, dies of an overdose of chloral hydrate – only months after release from the insane asylum at Rodez – just weeks after French radio pulls the plug on broadcast of his latest dramatic piece, Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (“To be finished with the judgment of god”).
In 1970, in northwest D.C., a priest’s “wife” who is at odds with her “husband” – who is a priest – and communal housemates hold a prayer meeting, speaking in tongues. The priest, Jim Fitzmaurice, who has married before receiving release from his priestly vows, has received, instead of release, an application to reapply for it. His wife Gretchen sees this as a ‘cat-and-mouse’ play with Jim to make him reconsider, divorce her, and return to his first love, the priesthood. Jim has neither filled out the application nor torn it up. She resents his indecision. He enlists her and the other housemates, two nursing students and a conscientious objector doing hospital duty, to pray with him over the matter, and ask the Lord to draw them “deeper into the mystery of Your reality.”
As though in answer to their prayers, a strange little man in black materializes from the darkness of their kitchen, demanding the group assist him in his resurrection from the dead – without God! He calls himself Le Momo (Artaud le Momo is a late book of poetry), gives them pages to recite (in English, from Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu), and directs them in a bizarre mise en scene, outraging them one by one by word and deed, including barbed sword and blood rite.
Jesus le Momo stars Elizabeth Salamon as Le Momo, Tyler Budde as Fr. Jim, Rachel Viele as Gretchen, Sean Sidbury as Paul, Liz Kinder as Debbie, and Molly MacKenzie as Sue. Adi Stein directs, Elliot Lanes is the Stage Manager and also mans lights and sound, Jane Dempsey does costume design, and JR Foley and Hilary Kacser produce, with a huge assist from Michael Kelly, associate producer and dramaturge.
A comedy in spite of itself, Jesus le Momo will materialize in The Bedroom at Fort Fringe (610 L St., NW, just behind Fort Fringe itself) for six performances:
- Jul 13th 6:15 PM
- Jul 15th 12:00 PM
- Jul 21st 10:15 PM
- Jul 24th 9:45 PM
- Jul 26th 8:15 PM
- Jul 28th 7:00 PM