Camus’s The Just (Les Justes) is a five-act play based on the true story of a group of Russian revolutionaries who assassinated Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich in 1905. First produced in 1949, The Just is a significant, eerily resonant, moving, and highly theatrical work. With a humanist perspective, Camus delves into the hearts and minds of five idealists who each grapple with a heinous choice and ultimately commit murder, in the name of justice. Now, more than ever, the play provokes and reverberates with a troubling yet necessary line of inquiry. Do the ends justify the means? Is terrorism ever a viable choice? What is the true cost of resistance? What is the difference between a freedom fighter and a murderer?
The point that is so compelling and haunting about The Just is the way Camus uses such clearly drawn characters to tell such an intimate yet horrific story. He completely understands and sympathizes with his characters, but never apologizes for their actions. And although it was written more than fifty years ago, and set in another era, The Just feels entirely contemporary and vital. In this play, Camus attempts to understand what it would require to take violent action and assassinate someone in power yet somehow maintaining a sense of justice and morality. Is this even possible?
Bobby Theodore’s fresh, modern translation enhances the contemporaneity of the play. With an introduction by Frank Cox-O’Connell.