When revolution spins out of control, Judas Iscariot, and a young Zealot named Isaac, rush toward their ultimate liberation, or their undoing. Kingdom Undone merges earthy drama, music and unexpected humor with the passion of Jesus’ final days and the messy justice that turned the world on its head.

From the director, Jeffrey S. Miller

In seeking to preserve da Vinci’s 15th century painting The Last Supper, well-meaning restoration efforts have added oil paint, glue and shellac to maintain the work over the centuries. While it’s likely we would no longer have this classic piece had not such effort been made, the most recent restoration, completed in 1999 and carefully executed with the latest scientific techniques to get as close to the original as possible, has revealed that Da Vinci’s colors were much more vivid than any had previously expected.

This seems an apt (if limited) metaphor for Kingdom Undone. The original witnesses to the events of this play have told a story that has changed the world – a fantastical, tragic, astonishing and inspiring record. Over the years, it has become laden, covered and burdened with all manner of theological, philosophical, linguistic, social and cultural “stuff” intended to preserve but sometimes blunting the vivid impact of the original.

The intent of this play is to recover some of the power of the original story in all its vibrant human color in a way that allows people to see it fully again. It makes no claim to be historically accurate but does strive for a truthfulness that captures something those witnesses experienced. Where it falls short, we hope you at least see the impulse to restore as worthwhile. Where it succeeds, we hope you experience something of what originally moved a small group of middle-Eastern Hebrew followers to give up their lives for.

From the writer, Jeremiah Gamble

It’s an intimidating task, as a writer, to put Jesus onstage. But it’s also equally intriguing. So, about five years ago I started wondering about writing a “Jesus show.” I decided I wanted to take a close up look at the story– focusing on the relationships, struggles and inner motivations of the characters. It seems to me that with the retelling of the Jesus story you often get one of two variations– you have non-Christian artists emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and Christian artists emphasizing his divinity. Often non-Christian audiences dismiss stories that emphasize Jesus’ divinity and write them off as religious propaganda, while Christians write off “secular” narratives as blasphemy at worst, offense at best. I wanted to embrace that tension and present the story in such a way as to invite both sides to the table, to consider the part of Jesus they like to de-emphasize or omit, and perhaps see something they haven’t seen before. Art provokes people to ask questions and challenges peoples presumptions, and I think this story, well told, can do that.

About the process

After three years of research and writing, the first official draft of Kingdom Undone was completed September, 2010. A group of artist friends and colleagues gathered to read the first draft. Since that time the script has been subjected to further readings, workshops and countless revisions. Original songs were workshopped with Nautilus Music Theater’s Rough Cuts Series, January 2011. After an extensive workshop with fifteen actors in April 2011, it was determined that the script was ready for production. New songs were workshopped with Nautilus Music Theater ‘s Rough Cuts series again in January, 2012. Kingdom Undone premiered to critical and audience acclaim March 2012 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN.