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The Just is a Voyage into the Minds of Terrorists

Albert Camus’ The Just is a portrayal of the historical execution of Grand Duke Segei. Idealism is examined, as all of the characters are willing to live and die for their cause.The play is set in 1905, in socialist Russia. The main characters Yanek, Dora, Boris and Stephan (played by Taylor Valentine, Beth Donohue, Eric Burns and John Nahigian respectively) wait in an empty apartment, cutting their gasps with long sips of tea.The play questions whether murder can be justified and if terrorism is ever an acceptable means to being about revolution.As the four comrades huddle in a tiny apartment that is always cold, they bring passion to direct-action politics, holding court over tea as they peer out of windows with the awkward gait of revolutionaries in costume.Under the guise of formal wear, these socialists talk about bombing the Grand Duke as if they were killing the idea of injustice, not the person. To the comrades, what the Grand Duke represents cannot be removed from who he is. The Shotgun Players’ dramatization of Camus’ classic Russian tragedy speaks of the limits of action, and the sacrifice of personal ideals with riveting power. The result is a production that succeeds with sharp, resonating motives.The audience’s reaction was so that the theater itself seemed to be gasping. Which comrade will drop the bomb? Will the Grand Duke die? The questions rise and fall as the audience sucks everything in, waiting for the knife blade of tension to slice the plot down the center before letting their final breath out. The Just plays through April 3 at The Ashby Stage on 1901 Ashby St. in Berkeley. For more info, call (510) 841-6500 or visit