Lloyd Suh's "Jesus in India" play made its world premiere in San Francisco Wednesday, telling the story of Jesus Christ's teenage years that were exempt from the Holy Bible.
The Gospel accounts provide no details on Jesus' life from when he was 12 to about 30 years old, with this gap commonly referred to as his "lost years."
The play premiered at San Francisco's Magic Theater with a cast of five people. The play follows the life of Jesus as a rebellious teenager, as he takes a journey into the East with his friend, Abigail of Galilee.
The pair encounter marijuana, Maharajas and punk rock during their spiritual journey. Suh said he came up with the concept of the film in graduate school.
"One day for some reason, the professor, an amazing guy named Bill Coco, somehow started talking about how there was evidence to support the idea that Jesus may have spent a good part of his "lost years" traveling the East – especially in India, but also through China and what we now know as Tibet," Suh told Magic Theatre's NNPN Playwright in Residence Christina Anderson.
Suh added, "I thought that was pretty exciting, and I remember talking about it with a friend of mine, an actor named Sunil Malhotra, and I told him I thought he should write a play about it, and we talked about how exciting it would be to have a teenage Jesus wandering the East, which is not dissimilar to like a contemporary college kid backpacking through Europe, say."
The playwright told Anderson that he hoped people could identify the Jesus in his work, despite the fact that the character may be different than the Christ in the Gospel many have become accustomed to.
"I hope that in his teen angst, he's recognizable to people," Suh said. "I think and hope that his dilemma will ultimately be familiar – more than anything, it's a rite of passage play, a coming of age, which is another story style that has always resonated with me."