What it's about.
A play about inmates who are waiting for their charges after committing murders.
The first thing I thought about after watching Jesus Hopped The A Train was that I felt more sympathy for people in jail.
Lucius Jenkins killed 8 people and was looking to God in order to gain salvation for his crimes. The sun played a significant role in Lucius' life. In the beginning, he hated it so much that he killed a pizza delivery man for leaving his apartment door open and letting the sun in. I understood Lucius, because people are compelled to perform the same action when there are no consequences for it the first time; he killed eight people because he was able to get away with it the first time. I don't think Lucius believed in God before he got to jail. It was only after he got to jail that he started to believe. Embracing the sun was his way of getting closer to God, but it served as a reminder to him that actions will always have consequences. I sympathized with him because he made me understand that no matter what people do in this life they are capable of changing their ways and I was sad to see that he had changed, but he was still paying the consequences for it.
Angel Cruz, the main character who's in jail for trying to save his friend from a corrupt pastor by shooting him in the ass, believed in God but he felt resentment towards God. I put myself in Angel's shoes and tried to understand his thought process and I came to the conclusion that he believed that God should punish those who used religion to manipulate others. Angel was just doing what God should've done and he wasn't sorry for it. He was more sorry about stealing his friend's Spiderman jacket. I even believed that he thought he was paying the consequences for that rather than for what he did to the corrupt pastor. It was this thought process that made me side with him throughout the play. It's wrong to shoot someone, it's wrong to kill, but it's also wrong to use people, and there was no punishment for that...
Valdez, a sadistic cop who has never killed anyone was the reason why I sided with the prisoners in this play. He dehumanized these prisoners and treated them like animals. He wasn't wrong for thinking the way he did, but it made me question if people should continue to think this way. I get that some prisoners commit acts that are unforgivable, but it's easy to forget that people can change, and not creating the space that allows for this change just enables them to continue acting in this manner.
Valdez reminded me of why Batman is considered a controversial character. He won't kill the Joker or any of the criminals from Gotham because he believes that they can change and learn from their mistakes no matter what they've done. They obviously never do, but the hope for change has to always be there because humans are capable of it. It's a difficult concept to understand because it's easier to focus on the acts that criminals commit and just punish them for it, but if people took the time to understand why these acts are committed like Mary Jane, Angel's attorney, did it makes it easier to figure out how these people can be helped or if they can be helped at all.
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