Paulus
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★★½ "Call it 'The Last Temptation of Paul.' Israeli playwright Motti Lerner's "Paulus," now in its world premiere with Silk Road Rising, traces the last days of the title apostle, many years after that famous road-to-Damascus conversion, in a fantasia that combines loose historical context with intense religious debate, often provided by imaginary visitations to Paulus from Jesus and a ukulele-playing Roman emperor Nero. But what's lacking in this passion play is, well, passion. There is no doubt that these characters believe deeply in the positions they have staked out. But therein lies another problem with both Lerner's script and director Jimmy McDermott's curiously flat staging — a believable lack of doubt from Daniel Cantor's Paulus. A martyr-in-waiting who doesn't show us at least flashes of terror at what he must face for his faith and actions early on can't grab our imaginations or our hearts. So though the play provides an interesting road map through Paulus' beliefs and his clashes with the Jewish and Roman authorities as they try to retain order among the restive populace, it remains emotionally distanced." -Kerry Reid