The Devil has often been written about and Marcus Kyd of the Taffety Punk Theatre Company has “freely adapted” many of the writings in this one man play, in which he also acts. While Mr. Kyd does not ignore the Hebrew Bible (though his is not the Satan of the books of Job and Zechariah) nor Islam, this devil is a Christian one, the great angel who falls when he rebels against God.
Mr. Kyd’s devil adapts himself to his surroundings and to the people whom he addresses, but, in the end, he is always after their souls. Since in the play we do not hear from God and we hear little from the human beings who have been tempted by Lucifer (though human weeping plays an important part near the end), the drama comes from the evolution of the Devil’s character. In Mr. Kyd’s telling, the Devil loves God or, rather, (which is not exactly the same thing) yearns for God’s love. He lacks the humility to submit to God and is terribly jealous of human beings. At some point, the play is about why there is evil, and the Devil blames both God and humanity. But the play, finally, is not a theological treatise but a drama, a character study of Lucifer. Mr. Kyd’s devil is quite human. This is very hard to avoid because we have no intimate knowledge of non-human intelligent beings. That is why we tend to create them in our image.
As the Devil comes to feel remorse for his evil and pity for human beings he has injured, he becomes a figure of pity himself, neither thoroughly malefic nor tragic hero. Whatever one makes of this metaphysically, it is quite a good play, very effectively acted by Mr. Kyd, whose intensity scorches away any dangers of whiffs of sentimentality in the ending.
The play is performed at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in Washington, D.C. through October 4, 2014.