SANTA FE, N.M. — Two storytellers who “haven’t seen each other in 700 years” reunite to tell a modern audience the ancient tale of a serial killer who is redeemed after trying to kill the Buddha.
“Killing Buddha,” presented this weekend at Teatro Paraguas, is an award-winning production by Theater Dojo, a traveling company based in Las Cruces that focuses on retelling old-time folklore and literature in a modern context.
The cast includes artistic director Algernon D’Ammassa and composer/performer Randy Granger, who play the storytellers and act out the different characters. The show has received accolades at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival and the San Diego International Fringe Festival, and has been staged in other cities across New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.
The story follows Angulimala, a North Indian folk figure known for murder and robbery. At one point, the Buddha confronts him. Angulimala attempts to run at the Buddha, but can’t reach him. When the killer gets frustrated and asks why the Buddha why he won’t stand still, the Buddha says he is still – because he’s peaceful and kind, unlike Angulimala who can never be mentally at ease because of rage. It’s the moment of the killer’s “pivotal awakening” that leads to his enlightenment, Granger said.