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Jerusalem is a play by Jez Butterworth. It premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2009 before moving to the Apollo Theatre in 2010. It has received phenomenal praise, especially for its leading actor Mark Rylance.

The three-act play unfolds over the course of a single day--St. George's Day, as a matter of fact--in the life of Johnny "Rooster" Byron, an eccentric ex-daredevil who lives in the woods outside a small town. He is surrounded by a cadre of misfits, including some local teenagers with whom he supplies drugs and alcohol. Over the course of the day, he receives an eviction notice from the city council officials, is visited by his ex and their young son Marky, and is confronted by local Jerkass Troy Whitworth about the latter's missing stepdaughter.

The show opened on Broadway recently starring most of the original cast.


This show contains examples of the following:

  • Badass -- Johnny Byron.
    • Mark Rylance himself, for being able to get up on-stage and perform this ridiculously demanding role eight times a week for over a year.
  • Boisterous Bruiser -- Johnny Byron, again.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The drum.
  • Children Are Innocent: Played straight with Marky, subverted with the rest of the teenagers and their parents who like to pretend this trope applied to their own childhoods.
  • Cloudcuckoolander -- The Professor.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady -- Ginger is mistaken for a woman by the senile old Professor due to his long hair.
  • Extremely Short Timespan -- The play is three hours and as many acts long, but it only covers the events of a single day.
  • Friend to All Children -- Johnny again, in his strange way.
  • Genki Girl: Pea.
  • Hey, It's That Guy! -- Most tropers would recognize Ginger from his time as one of Those Two Guys in a certain famous film trilogy, though more theatre-oriented audiences are likely to see him as Konstantin to Kristin Scott Thomas' Irina in The Seagull. Or, just as likely, one might recognize him from The Office UK.
  • Jerkass -- Troy Whitworth.
  • The Munchausen -- Johnny Byron in spades.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown -- Near the end of Act Three.
  • Only Mostly Dead -- Early on, Ginger tells the teenagers a story about Johnny's daredevil days that starts like this: "He tried to jump twenty eighteen-wheelers, and he fucked it up, and died." Turns out, Johnny survived.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Phaedra.
  • Scenery Porn -- Just look at the set!
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A brutal example in the final act. 15 year old Phaedra orders Johnny to dance with her, but they are interrupted by her brothers and sexually abusive stepfather, who spirit Phaedra away and beat Johnny to a pulp. All this while Fairport Convention's gentle, wistful "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" plays on the turntable.
  • Titled After the Song -- In this case, the famous English hymn by Hubert Parry, the lyrics of which come from the poem "And did those feet in ancient time" by William Blake. The song is performed at the very top of the show, and later on, by Phaedra.
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